Sri Lanka concerned over high under-nutrition levels

COLOMBO (EconomyNext) – Sri Lanka has done well in improving social indicators and meeting most of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals but lack of nutrition among children remains a serious concern, officials said.

The country is lagging behind in nutritional  indicators with one in five children in Sri Lanka are undernourished.

A new demographic and health survey is to be done soon that will update data on nutrition levels, said Wimal Nanayakkara, Senior Visiting Fellow of the Institute of Policy Studies, a think tank.

"Nutrition levels are a concern with 21.6 percent of children under five years being underweight," he told a forum held to discuss a United Nations report on how the island had performed in meeting the Millennium Development Goals.

The nutrition levels were worse in remote areas and the island’s estate sector, Nayayakkara who helped prepared the latest report on Sri Lanka’s MDGs.

Shanthi Goonewardena, Director, Nutrition Coordination Division, Ministry of Health, said that the island’s maternal mortality rates and other social indicators had improved.

"But in nutritional indicators we’re lagging behind. There has been some stagnation for the last 15 years."

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