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Nearly 1 in 5 N. Korean children undernourished: report

10:59 May 05, 2021

SEOUL, May 5 (Yonhap) -- Nearly 1 in 5 children under the age of 5 in North Korea suffer from stunted growth, and the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic is likely to exacerbate the trend for some years to come, an international report showed Wednesday.

The child stunting rate in the impoverished state was measured at 18.2 percent, or 317,800 children under the age of 5, at the end of 2020, according to a joint research by the U.N. Children's Fund, the World Health Organization and the World Bank published this month.

The percentage marks a decline from the 2012 figure of 26.1 percent, but it still falls short of the international standards, the report said.

The proportions for overweight children under the age of 5 came to 1.9 percent, representing 32,200, slightly up from 1.3 percent in 2012.

Globally, 149.2 million children under 5 suffered from stunting in 2020.

The report noted that the 2020 findings do not fully reflect the COVID-19 impact on the countries studied as the bulk of the research was conducted prior to the outbreak of the pandemic.

But it said that the COVID-19 impact has likely worsened the malnutrition trend and the numbers of affected children may increase "substantially due to constraints in accessing nutritious diets and essential nutrition services" during the pandemic.

This image, captured from North Korea's state television network, the Korean Central Broadcasting Station, on April 27, 2021, shows students reading textbooks in their classroom in the country's western province of North Pyongan, after schools resumed amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

elly@yna.co.kr
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