Cambodian youth are being encouraged to eat more nutritious food to build healthy bodies.
That was the message from the Cambodian Agricultural and Rural Development Council chairman Yim Chhayly at the Youth Nutrition Champion Forum on Thursday.
He said adults make up nearly 25 per cent of the population but have little understanding of nutritious foods, which is impacting young people. A quarter of teenagers are getting thinner and also half of the teenagers had gone pale, he said.
Chhayly said weight gain, obesity and non-communicable diseases have also been detected among teenagers and women of child-bearing age.
“We need to provide education campaigns to promote nutritious foods for our young and child-bearing women. They have to understand how to take care of their children.
“It takes time for the bodies of teenagers to grow and develop. They can face risks. The problem is that a lack of nutrition affects their health, mental development and productivity,” Chhayly said.
UN representative for Cambodia Nutrition Iean Rusell said at the forum that youth participation is the focal point of the UN agency to spur development in Cambodia.
“If we don’t give children and young people the proper nutrition to achieve their full potential, then the entire progress of development will suffer,” he said.
Youth Nutrition Champion leader Chhun Bormey said young people are gaining an understanding of the benefits of nutrition and have changed their daily diets.
“Sixty-five per cent of Cambodia’s population is under the age of 30. They are the core and have the potential to develop the country in the present and the future.
“Youth have been participating actively and vividly in all activities and at all levels in the framework of society, culture, the economy and politics,” Bormey said.