© UNICEF/NYHQ 2008-1795/Pirozzi
Infants and young children need proper nutrition to thrive and develop. But young children in Central Asia still suffer from malnutrition and lack protection from iodine deficiency disorder despite our region’s economic growth.
Below are some on the latest available information from national surveys in 2008 and from the report Universal Salt Iodisation in CEE CIS during 2000 – 2009 :
- In industrialised countries, around 60 to 80 per cent of the total salt intake is consumed with processed food (such as bread, meat, cheese and other dairy products), while the remaining salt intake hails from cooking and seasoning of home produced food with household salt.
- The regional average for use of iodised salt is 61 per cent (of which 51 per cent adequately iodised). It will continue to stagnate at this rate with Russia and Ukraine with their large populations postpone national legislations on universal salt iodization. Some 15 out of 22 countries in the region have reached the international benchmark for success of 90 per cent.
- The annual number of babies born in households using adequately iodised salt has reached 2.96 million, which is 54 per cent of the total of 5.6 million annual new born babies in our region. It is difficult to gather data for babies and under-two-year-olds as most surveys track urinary iodine in school children and pregnant women. If a mother is deficient, it is certain that her baby will be born deficient.
UNICEF in Action
UNICEF seeks to build the foundations of good nutrition in our region with the following actions:
- Improving access to education and health services for women and girls;
- Promoting exclusive breastfeeding for infants, from birth to six months, better complementary feeding and better hygiene combined with deworming through community-based programmes;
- Developing and distributing low-cost complementary foods, fortified foods and nutritional supplements;
- Strengthening links between programmes in health, nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene for children younger than five.
Updated 30 May, 2011