USAID’s Advancing Nutrition project recently conducted a study on nutritional challenges that negatively affect the health of mothers and children in Batken and Jalal-Abad regions of Kyrgyztan. USAID website reports.
«The data indicate that children under two are not getting enough vitamins and nutrients due to unhealthy practices like eating «junk food.» Almost 90% of the survey participants reported that their children aged 6-23 months had eaten some sort of junk food in the past 24 hours,» the organization says.
Eating a lot of sugary and salty snack foods like cookies, soft drinks, chips, and salty crackers contributes to both stunting and obesity.
The survey also indicated that only half of infants under 6 months are exclusively breastfed. According to WHO, children in this age should only consume breast milk and feeding them with other food and water can damage the baby’s long-term health.
In addition, the study indicated that only about 18% of children in Batken aged 6-23 months are receiving a minimum acceptable diet.
This means that young children are not getting the required amount of vitamins and nutrients through diverse products like nuts, meats, eggs, fruits, and vegetables.
Poor diet limits the intellectual and physical development of infants and children.
USAID’s Advancing Nutrition project is working with local communities to inform mothers and their families about the importance of healthy diets, hygiene, and sanitation. Last year, the project recruited more than 2,000 activists to support community outreach around these important issues. After receiving proper training on best nutritional practices, these activists reached over 17,000 households.
The research for the project was conducted by M-Vector in October — November 2020. The project surveyed 2,091 mothers of children under 2 years in Batken and Jalal-Abad regions.