Growing well in a changing world
Survey report provides data about nutrition status of women and children in Uzbekistan
TASHKENT, 23 October 2019 - UNICEF and the Ministry of Health of Uzbekistan launched the results of a nationwide nutrition survey. It took data from 3874 households across all 14 regions of the country in order to explore the micronutrient and nutrition status of women and children under five. The report highlights some excellent progress made on nutrition over the last years and points to some key areas for improvement.
The survey shows that good progress has been made to reduce the prevalence of child stunting, wasting and underweight. Among children, child wasting stands at just 1.9 per cent, and child underweight at 2.6 percent. Child stunting (low height for age) stands at 8.7 per cent, which is a low public health risk.
The survey found that despite of high level of early breastfeeding initiation (91.0 per cent), only about 50 per cent of the children below 6 months of age were exclusively breastfed. Almost 9 out of 10 children were being breastfed up to one year of age, and about 40 per cent were still breastfed at the age of two years.
The survey discovered that only 30.3 per cent of young children were getting the minimum level of diversity in their diets. 94 per cent of children are not enjoying the minimum acceptable diet to ensure optimal growth and development for children aged 6–23 months.
Another issues among children are overweight and obesity. According to the survey results, 4.6 per cent of children in Uzbekistan are overweight. This can lead to problems from Type 2 diabetes, infertility and heart disease in later life. The survey found that 40.7 per cent of non-pregnant women between 15 and 49 were overweight or obese. The older a woman grows, the more overweight she is likely to be. This represents a significant public health issue.
The survey provides the most comprehensive assessment of micronutrient deficiencies in Uzbekistan. Worryingly, one in four children under the age of two were found to be anaemic. 75 per cent of these cases are due to lack of iron. Over 50 per cent under-fives were iron deficient. Even without anaemia, low iron levels can cause cognitive developmental delays in children.
The level of iron deficiency among adolescent girls is also alarmingly high at nearly 50 per cent.
Two out of five of women of reproductive age have iron deficiency. One in five non-pregnant women is anaemic and one in five have a vitamin B12 deficiency.
In the survey over 90 per cent of respondents said they used iodised salt, and 80 per cent of salt labels confirmed this. However, when the salt was analysed, only 40 per cent of salt samples contained adequate iodine. Across the country, pregnant women are not getting enough iodine.
“We know that preventing malnutrition in all forms, from early childhood into adolescence is critical,” said Sascha Graumann, Representative, UNICEF Uzbekistan. “It needs multi-sectoral cooperation to make children’s nutrition a priority across the health, agriculture, water and sanitation, education and social protection systems. Success in each of these supports success in all,” he added.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org/uzbekistan.