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Uzbekistan targets improving child nutrition

The Uzbekistan Government, World Bank and UNICEF review the nutrition status of the country.

Tashkent, Uzbekistan, 6 April 2007 – The Cabinet of Ministers of Uzbekistan, with support from the World Bank and UNICEF, organized a one day meeting to review the nutritional status of children and agree a road map for development of an integrated national nutrition strategy.  Representative from different line ministries, public and youth organizations, and international organizations participated in this meeting. 

Welcoming the participants of the meeting, the representative of the Cabinet of Ministers, Mrs Tanzilya Norbaeva, said that the outcome of this meeting should guide the state policies for improvement of nutritional status of women and children in the country. She stressed that “adequate and appropriate nutrition is critical for socio-economic development of their communities and country.”

During the meeting participants outlined the framework for the national nutrition strategy and agreed on composition of working group for strategy development and the timeframe. 

An international expert in nutrition, Jack Bagriansky, presented the linkages between malnutrition and the economic costs to a country. “Malnutrition is insidious and eats into the economic development of a country. In the case of children it means lower IQ, and reduced school performance. The technologies again are simple, cost effective and they are proven. Vitamin A supplementation programme for children fortification of foods with micronutrients, and universal iodisation of salt are some of the most well known and tested effective strategies of the world,” he said.

Note for the editors:

Malnutrition is associated with more than half of all child deaths worldwide. Undernourished children are more likely to die from common childhood ailments, and those who survive are more likely to have recurring sicknesses and faltering growth. Three-quarters of the children who die from causes related to malnutrition were only mildly or moderately malnourished – showing no outward sign of their vulnerability. The Millennium Development target is to reduce by half the proportion of people who suffer from hunger between 1990 and 2015.  The World Fit for Children goal is to reduce the prevalence of malnutrition among children under five years of age by at least one-third (between 2000 and 2010), with special attention to children under two years of age.  A reduction in the prevalence of malnutrition will assist in the goal of reducing child mortality.

  • The prevalence of moderate and severe stunting among Uzbek children under 5 is 21 per cent.
  • Wasting rates among children under 3 years is 6.1 per cent, and underweight 8.8 per cent. Micronutritient deficiencies among the same age groups are even higher. 
  • Micronutritient malnutrition peaks especially among children between 12-23 months, where 70 per cent of the children in that age group are anemic with iron deficiency, and 61 per cent with Vitamin A deficiency. Better nutritional status in childhood has been shown to be strongly associated with improved physical health and labor productivity, and improved cognitive development and school performance, both enhancing income-earning potential later in adulthood.
  • Productivity losses from malnutrition ranges between 0.5 per cent to 2.9 per cent of total GDP, totaling over $53 million to $292 million. If no investment were made to improve the nutritional situation of the population in Uzbekistan, economic losses would be much higher if the nutrition status did improve for the next six years.
  • Exclusive breastfeeding rate is around 22 per cent among babies under 6 month. 
  • Three out of 10 women and men are either obese or overweight (28 per cent and 32 per cent respectively).


UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

For more information, please contact:

Shukhrat Rakhimdjanov, Health and Nutrition Program Officer

Bobur Turdiev, Communication Officer





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