2. 2nd speaker - Prof. Dr. Khor Geok Lin (Dept. of Nutrition and Dietetics, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, UPM) on "Socioeconomic Disparities in Childhood Malnutrition". Prof. Dr. Khor shared about statistics of child hunger, malnutrition, underweight, mortality (death), and obesity. Here are some interesting statistical facts:
- Where child hunger in Asia is concerned, Bangladesh tops the list and surprisingly, Malaysia has the lowest (but Mommy didn't see Singapore in the list at all!).
- Three-fourth of the world's underweight and stunted children in the world actually live in Asia. Being underweight is a high risk for young children. South-east Asia has the highest prevalence of underweight children below 5 years old, and Latin America and Caribbean Islands has the lowest. Within South-east Asia itself, Malaysia has the lowest prevalence of underweight children and Timor Leste the highest.
- In terms of child death before the age of 5 years (in Asia), Singapore has the lowest and Myanmar the highest. China and Malaysia have low prevalence.
- Rural children are twice as likely as urban children to be underweight. In Malaysia, among children below 18 years old, the prevalence of underweight is lowest in both Penang and Selangor (in fact, much lower than the national average), and Sabah is the highest (in fact, much higher than the national average).
- As for the prevalence of overweight children below 18 years old in Malaysia, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan and Melaka are among the highest and Sabah is the lowest.
- It is found that child obesity is more prevalent among the lower socioeconomic group.
- Adequate nutrition before and during pregnancy and the first 6 months of life is critical to a child.
- Among the determinants to reduce child malnutrition, women's education actually contributes the most.
- Prof. Dr. Khor also brought up the issue of health inequality in the Internet. She pointed out the trend that health websites are mostly written at a level understandable to high school up to graduate level readers. Thus, the lower level group is at the most disadvantaged in accessing health information from such websites.
Stay tuned for the gist of the next speakers.