The children

Early years

Pre-School Years



Child growth

Regarding low birth weight, there has been a continuous improvement since 2000. According to the second national nutrition survey (2000), 12.4% of the newborns had low birth weight, while this number had been reduced to 3.3% in the third national nutrition survey in 2004. According to the Annual Health Statistics Report, low birth weight percentage changed from 6.0% in 2002 to 5.0% in 2003 and to 4.4% in 2004. Low birth weight is a reliable indicator of maternal nutrition and ante-natal care.

There seems to be a decline in the trend of exclusive breastfeeding. In 2000 the rate was 64% (Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey-2), in 2002 it was 55% (Survey on the nutritional status of children under 2 years, conducted by Nutrition Research Center, Ministry of Health, and UNICEF), and in 2004 it dropped to 38.2% (3rd National Nutrition Survey, 2004). Up to 2000, exclusive breastfeeding was recommended until four months and was later changed to six months in 2001 according to WHO/UNICEF recommendation, as a consequence complementary food is given at five months. The availability of breast milk substitute especially in Ulaanbaatar, is greatly responsible for the decline in exclusive breastfeeding rate.

There are positive trends in child nutrition. There was a significant reduction of the underweight rate from 12.5% in 2000 to 6.4% in 2004; in the same period stunting decreased from 24.9% to 19.0% and wasting from 3.7% to 0.6%

No significant decrease in rickets among children under five has taken place since 1992. Rickets is common in cities and aimag centres. In 2000, 12.5% of children under five were underweight, and 48.5% had anaemia. Weight loss and anaemia are more common in rural compared to urban settings. Anaemia among children has decreased from 50% in 2000 to 33% in 2003 among children aged 6-59 months.

Vitamin A is given to children aged 6-59 months, and in 2004 the coverage of vitamin A supplementation was 92%. However, according to the third National Nutrition Survey in 2004 only 50% of the surveyed mothers indicated that their children had received vitamin A during the last 6 months. Vitamin D is given to children under 2 years, and in 2004 the supplementation coverage has been only 25% for vitamin D.

In 2000, the prevalence of goitre among children from 7-11 years was 21.8%, which places Mongolia among the countries with a middle level of iodine deficiency disorder prevalence. This number has fallen to 15.8% in 2004, which is a significant achievement, and is due to increase in the consumption of iodized salt at household level.





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