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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Title The economic consequences of malnutrition in Cambodia, more than 400 million US dollar lost annually
Volume 23
Issue 4
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2014
Page numbers 524-531
URL http://apjcn.nhri.org.tw/server/APJCN/23/4/524.pdf
Background: Cambodia is among the 28 worst countries globally with the highest rates of childhood malnutrition.
The aim of the assessment was to apply published evidence associating malnutrition and a variety of functional
consequences to project economic implications of this high rate of childhood malnutrition. Such information
is vital to advocate for appropriate programs and action plan to reduce malnutrition (from severe stunting
to micronutrient deficiencies). Methods: This exercise used a “consequence model” to apply these “coefficients
of loss” established in the global scientific literature to Cambodia health, demographic and economic data to develop
a national estimation of the economic losses link to malnutrition. Results: The impact of the indicators of
malnutrition analysed represent a burden to the national economy of Cambodia estimated at more than $400 million
annually -2.5% of GDP. Micronutrient deficiencies suggest deficits in the quality of the diet - representing a
national burden of more than $200 million annually while breastfeeding behaviours account for 6% of the burden.
57% of the losses emerge from indicators measured in children, while 43% of losses are from indicators independent
of childhood measurements - indicators of maternal behaviour along with maternal and adult nutrition.
Conclusions: Given the low cost of interventions and the high baseline losses, investment in nutrition programs
in Cambodia is likely to offer high returns and attractive benefit cost ratios. Since nearly half the losses are determined
prior to the birth of the child, this has implications for targeting and timing of programs.

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