The Public Health Institute introduced the results of the fifth Nutrition Status of Mongolian Population report on Thursday.
With assistance from UNICEF, the institute surveyed random residents from 94 soums and 30 khoroos across Mongolia from 2016 to 2017.
The survey aimed at assessing the nutrition status of population groups most vulnerable to nutritional disorders, including children, pregnant and lactating women, and making recommendations to the government and international partners to inform their policy and decision-making.
This year’s results show that the prevalence of mineral and vitamin deficiencies is still high among the public and hasn’t seen much improvement since 2010.
- 26.6 percent of children under the age of five, 21.4 percent of pregnant women, and 16.1 percent of mothers suffer from anemia.
- 29.6 percent of pregnant women and 27.7 percent of six to 59-months-old children are affected by iron deficiency.
- Deficiency of Vitamin D is common among children and adults.
- 78.9 percent of all families use adequate amount of iodized salt, and most residents, especially pregnant women, living in western and Khangai mountainous region are still at risk of iodine deficiency.
- One out of every five families do not ensure food security.
- Almost half of adults and one out of every three children suffer from obesity.
- Babies consume insufficient amount of breast milk.
- People consume only a few variation of food a day.
UNICEF Representative to Mongolia Alex Heikens stated that the Mongolian government enacted a national food and nutrition program and the Law on Infants’ Food to resolve malnutrition and obesity among the public. He underlined that financing is urgently required for putting methods included in these legislations into practice as they are the perfect way to address these health issues.
The survey indicated that many people face nutrition disorders. Experts noted that obesity in Mongolia has reached a dangerous level and that while almost half the population is overweight, the number of children with obesity is continuing to increase.
“The majority of the public is affected by malnutrition. To eliminate micronutrient deficiency, it’s important to diversify foods available to the public. We will exchange opinions on this topic at a higher platform,” said J.Tuyatsetseg, the director of the School of Industrial Technology of the Mongolian University of Science and Technology.
“We plan to make key food staples such as flour and dairy products more nutritious for starters. However, it’s impossible to begin straightaway. We will discuss methods for this type of measure in detail soon,” she said.
The following measures have been recommended for controlling and reducing obesity.
- Enhance public knowledge and understanding about healthy diet and expand activities to promote healthy dietary habits.
- Provide conditions that support healthy diet and regular exercise, and regulate through legislations.
- Increase cultivation of vegetables and fruits rich in vitamins and minerals, and encourage the public to eat more vegetables and fruits.
- Create a legal regulation to protect children from advertisement of unhealthy and unsafe food.
- Ensure schools provide healthy food and encourage students exercise on a regular basis.