Lanka fails in nutritional health

by Dasun Edirisinghe

 Although Sri Lanka is placed in league with more developed countries, in some health factors, it is significantly low in nutritional health, Health Ministry statistics reveal.

A ministry official said the country was in a good position in preventing malaria, leprosy, infant mortality, maternal mortality and in breastfeeding and immunization, but it had failed in tackling obesity, stunting, low birth weight, and anemia due to nutritional reasons.

According to the latest statistics, low birth weight has been 16 per cent, stunting - 17.3 per cent, slimness - 14.7 per cent, anemia in pregnant mothers - 16.2 per cent, anemia in breastfeeding mothers - 19.6 per cent and obesity in urban children - 10 per cent during the past ten years.

The official said that those were considerable shortcomings and the ministry had identified the reasons as being consuming nutritionally low quality food and fast food.

Considering these factors, Health Ministry Secretary, Dr. Nihal Jayathilake issued a circular on June 01 that declared June as nutrition month.

The theme of the programme is ‘Healthy nation through proper nutrition’.

"We would conduct countrywide nutrition clinics," the Ministry official said adding that people could turn to the nearest clinic and obtain information on how to prepare a meal rich in nutrition.

Provincial Health Secretaries, Regional and Provincial Health Directors and family health officers, in rural areas were already involved in the programme, he said.

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