Viewing cable 03ROME791
Title: WFP/UNICEF DPR KOREA NUTRITION SURVEY SHOWS MARKED

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
03ROME7912003-02-26 05:46:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Rome
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ROME 000791 
 
SIPDIS 
 
AIDAC 
 
FROM U.S. MISSION IN ROME 
                       UNCLASSIFIED 
 
PAGE 02        ROME  00791  01 OF 02  260638Z 
 
STATE FOR A/S KELLY, A/S PRM DEWEY, IO A/S HOLMES, EAP/K 
DONG AND BELLER, AND IO/EDA WINNICK 
USDA/FAS FOR U/S PENN, MCHAMBLISS AND RTILSWORTH 
USAID FOR ADMINISTRATOR NATSIOS, AA/DCHA WINTER, AA/ANE 
CHAMBERLAIN, D/DCHA/FFP LLANDIS AND JBRAUSE 
NSC FOR JDWORKEN 
 
E.O.  12958:  N/A 
TAGS: EAID PREL PREF EAGR ECON KN PREL PREF EAGR ECON KN KS UN KS EAID UN
SUBJECT: WFP/UNICEF DPR KOREA NUTRITION SURVEY SHOWS MARKED 
DECLINE IN MALNUTRITION RATES AMONG CHILDREN 
 
REF: (A) ROME 00655 
 
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SUMMARY 
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¶1. MALNUTRITION RATES AMONG CHILDREN IN THE DEMOCRATIC 
PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF KOREA (DPRK) HAVE DECLINED CONSIDERABLY 
OVER THE PAST FOUR YEARS, ACCORDING TO THE SURVEY RELEASED 
BY WFP AND UNICEF ON FEBRUARY 20, CONJOINTLY WITH THE HOST 
GOVERNMENT'S CENTRAL BUREAU OF STATISTICS AND INSTITUTE OF 
CHILD NUTRITION. MAJOR FINDINGS OF THE SURVEY ARE: A) THE 
PROPORTION OF CHILDREN UNDERWEIGHT (WEIGHT-FOR-AGE) HAS 
FALLEN FROM 61 PERCENT IN 1998 TO 21 PERCENT IN 2002; B) 
WASTING, OR ACUTE MALNUTRITION (WEIGHT-FOR-HEIGHT), HAS 
FALLEN FROM 16 PERCENT TO 9 PERCENT; AND C) STUNTING, OR 
CHRONIC MALNUTRITION (HEIGHT-FOR-AGE), HAS DROPPED FROM 
62 PERCENT TO 42 PERCENT. THE SURVEY COVERED 6,000 RANDOMLY 
                       UNCLASSIFIED 
 
PAGE 03        ROME  00791  01 OF 02  260638Z 
SELECTED HOUSEHOLDS LOCATED IN 200 RANDOMLY SELECTED RI 
(DISTRICTS) AND DONG (COUNTIES) OF SEVEN PROVINCES (DPRK HAS 
NINE PROVINCES), AND THREE CITIES. THE UN AGENCIES CONCLUDED 
THAT THESE GAINS COULD BE LOST IF INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT FOR 
HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE TO THE COUNTRY CONTINUES TO 
DIMINISH. END SUMMARY. 
 
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BACKGROUND 
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¶2. THIS NUTRITION ASSESSMENT - THE LARGEST OF ITS KIND EVER 
TO BE UNDERTAKEN IN NORTH KOREA - COVERED BOTH CHILD AND 
MATERNAL NUTRITION AND WAS CARRIED OUT IN OCTOBER 2002 BY 
THE GOVERNMENT'S CENTRAL BUREAU OF STATISTICS (CBS) AND 
INSTITUTE OF CHILD NUTRITION (ICN), IN COLLABORATION WITH 
UNICEF AND THE WORLD FOOD PROGRAM (WFP). THE SURVEY SAMPLE 
INCLUDED 6,000 RANDOMLY SELECTED HOUSEHOLDS LOCATED IN 200 
RANDOMLY SELECTED RI AND DONG OF SEVEN PROVINCES (DPRK HAS 
NINE PROVINCES), AND IN THREE CITIES. THE HOUSEHOLDS 
SELECTED WERE THOSE WITH CHILDREN UNDER SEVEN YEARS OF AGE. 
IN EACH HOUSEHOLD SELECTED, THE YOUNGEST CHILD WAS WEIGHED 
AND MEASURED, AND INFORMATION COLLECTED ON HOUSEHOLD FOOD 
SUPPLIES. IN HOUSEHOLDS WHERE THE CHILD WAS UNDER TWO YEARS 
OF AGE, THE MOTHER WAS ALSO INTERVIEWED CONCERNING MATERNAL 
AND CHILD HEALTH CARE PRACTICES, INFANT FEEDING PRACTICES, 
AND MATERNAL FEEDING PRACTICES. MOTHERS OF CHILDREN UNDER 
TWO YEARS OLD CHILDREN WERE ALSO WEIGHED AND MEASURED, AND 
INVITED TO UNDERGO A HEMOGLOBIN EXAMINATION. 
 
¶3. THE NUTRITION ASSESSMENT INVOLVED OVER 100 PROFESSIONALLY 
                       UNCLASSIFIED 
 
PAGE 04        ROME  00791  01 OF 02  260638Z 
QUALIFIED STAFF - CBS, ICN, WFP AND UNICEF. TWENTY TEAMS OF 
FIVE PERSONS FROM THE CENTRAL LEVEL CARRIED OUT DATA 
COLLECTION. THEY WERE ASSISTED BY PROVINCIAL LEVEL LOGISTICS 
TEAMS THAT ARRANGED FOR LOCAL PREPARATIONS AND SUPPORT IN 
THE RI AND DONG, AND BY A PROVINCIAL LEVEL DATA ENTRY AND 
QUALITY CONTROL TEAM. UNICEF AND WFP PROVIDED FINANCIAL AND 
LOGISTICAL SUPPORT. THE INSTITUTE OF CHILD HEALTH, LONDON 
AND THAILAND HEALTH FOUNDATION, BANGKOK, PROVIDED TECHNICAL 
ADVICE. CBS WAS DIRECTLY RESPONSIBLE FOR PREPARATION OF 
QUESTIONNAIRE, IDENTIFICATION OF SURVEY TARGET HOUSEHOLDS, 
ENLISTMENT AND TRAINING OF SURVEY TEAM MEMBERS, ORGANISATION 
AND MONITORING OF FIELD SURVEY ACTIVITIES, REVIEW OF 
QUESTIONNAIRES AND DATA COLLECTION, DATA ANALYSIS AND REPORT 
WRITE-UP. 
 
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FINDINGS 
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¶4. MAJOR FINDINGS OF THE SURVEY ARE: 
 
A) THE PROPORTION OF CHILDREN UNDERWEIGHT (WEIGHT-FOR-AGE) 
HAS FALLEN FROM 61 PERCENT IN 1998 TO 21 PERCENT IN 2002; 
B) WASTING, OR ACUTE MALNUTRITION (WEIGHT-FOR-HEIGHT), HAS 
FALLEN FROM 16 PERCENT TO 9 PERCENT; AND 
C) STUNTING, OR CHRONIC MALNUTRITION (HEIGHT-FOR-AGE), HAS 
 
                       UNCLASSIFIED 
 
                           UNCLASSIFIED     PTQ8202 
 
PAGE 01        ROME  00791  02 OF 02  260638Z 
ACTION AID-00 
 
INFO  LOG-00   NP-00    AGRE-00  AMAD-00  CA-01    CIAE-00  COME-00 
      USNW-00  DODE-00  DOEE-00  DOTE-00  SRPP-00  DS-00    MEDE-00 
      EAP-00   EB-00    EUR-00   FAAE-00  FBIE-00  UTED-00  VC-00 
      H-01     TEDE-00  INR-00   IO-00    L-00     VCE-00   M-00 
      AC-01    NEA-00   NSAE-00  NSCE-00  OCS-03   OES-00   OIC-02 
      PA-00    PER-00   PM-00    ACE-00   P-00     SCT-00   SP-00 
      IRM-00   TEST-00  TRSE-00  T-00     USIE-00  SA-00    R-00 
      PMB-00   DSCC-00  PRM-00   DRL-01   G-00     NFAT-00  SAS-00 
      SWCI-00    /009W 
                  ------------------3B7A29  260639Z /38 
P 260546Z FEB 03 
FM AMEMBASSY ROME 
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8457 
INFO EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE 
AMEMBASSY BEIJING 
AMEMBASSY SEOUL 
AMEMBASSY TOKYO 
AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 
USEU BRUSSELS 3147 
USMISSION GENEVA 
USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 
 
UNCLAS SECTION 02 OF 02 ROME 000791 
 
SIPDIS 
 
AIDAC 
 
FROM U.S. MISSION IN ROME 
                       UNCLASSIFIED 
 
PAGE 02        ROME  00791  02 OF 02  260638Z 
 
STATE FOR A/S KELLY, A/S PRM DEWEY, IO A/S HOLMES, EAP/K 
DONG AND BELLER, AND IO/EDA WINNICK 
USDA/FAS FOR U/S PENN, MCHAMBLISS AND RTILSWORTH 
USAID FOR ADMINISTRATOR NATSIOS, AA/DCHA WINTER, AA/ANE 
CHAMBERLAIN, D/DCHA/FFP LLANDIS AND JBRAUSE 
NSC FOR JDWORKEN 
 
E.O.  12958:  N/A 
TAGS: EAID PREL PREF EAGR ECON KN PREL PREF EAGR ECON KN KS UN KS EAID UN
SUBJECT: WFP/UNICEF DPR KOREA NUTRITION SURVEY SHOWS MARKED 
DECLINE IN MALNUTRITION RATES AMONG CHILDREN 
 
DROPPED FROM 62 PERCENT TO 42 PERCENT. 
 
¶5. IN GENERAL, CAREFUL REVIEW OF THE RESULTS SUGGESTS THAT 
REAL IMPROVEMENTS HAVE OCCURRED. THESE IMPROVEMENTS ARE, 
HOWEVER, MUCH MORE PRONOUNCED FOR UNDERWEIGHT GAINS THAN 
THEY ARE FOR STUNTING.  THE FALL IN UNDERWEIGHT ACROSS THREE 
SURVEYS (1998, 2000 AND 2002) - FROM 60 PERCENT TO 28 
PERCENT TO 20 PERCENT - SHOWS A CONSISTENT TREND. 
 
¶6. HOWEVER, THE RATES OF CHILD UNDERWEIGHT AND STUNTING ARE 
STILL HIGH AND REQUIRE CONTINUED AND SUSTAINED EFFORTS. 
THERE IS EVIDENCE THAT MATERNAL NUTRITION IS FAR FROM 
OPTIMAL WITH A THIRD OF MOTHERS MEASURED RECORDING LESS THAN 
22.5 CM FOR MUAC. MOREOVER, ABOUT ONE-THIRD OF MOTHERS 
COVERED BY THE SURVEY WERE OBSERVED TO BE BOTH MALNOURISHED 
AND ANEMIC. 
 
¶7. THE ASSESSMENT PROVIDED THE FIRST OBJECTIVE ANALYSIS OF 
                       UNCLASSIFIED 
 
PAGE 03        ROME  00791  02 OF 02  260638Z 
DIFFERING VULNERABILITY ACROSS THE COUNTRY.  STUNTING AMONG 
CHILDREN IN NAMPO CITY WAS 25 PERCENT, FOR EXAMPLE, COMPARED 
TO 48 PERCENT IN SOUTH HAMGYONG PROVINCE.  THE WASTING RATE 
IN PYONGYANG WAS JUST UNDER 4 PERCENT, AGAINST 12 PERCENT IN 
SOUTH HAMGYONG.  THE SURVEY FOUND SIMILAR PATTERNS IN FOOD 
AVAILABILITY AND THE INCIDENCE OF CHILDHOOD DIARRHEA. UNICEF 
AND WFP SAID SUCH PATTERNS CONFIRMED THEIR OBSERVATIONS FROM 
FIELD MONITORING THAT THE NORTHEASTERN PROVINCES ARE MORE 
VULNERABLE THAN OTHER PARTS OF THE COUNTRY. 
 
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WFP/UNICEF CONCLUSION 
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¶8. THOUGH CHILD MALNUTRITION HAS FALLEN CONSIDERABLY, 
ACCORDING TO THE SURVEY, BOTH WFP AND UNICEF COMMENTED THAT 
THERE IS STILL "GREAT CAUSE FOR CONCERN." CITING WORLD 
HEALTH ORGANIZATION (WHO) CRITERIA, THEY CONCLUDE THAT CHILD- 
WASTING RATES ARE STILL HIGH, AND CHILD STUNTING RATES VERY 
HIGH. JAMES T. MORRIS, WFP EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, COMMENTED 
THAT:  "THE CRISIS IS NOT OVER. IF THE UN CAN'T PROVIDE MORE 
MEDICINE AND FOOD - AND QUICKLY - WE WILL SEE MALNUTRITION 
RATES RISE AGAIN, UNDOING MUCH OF THE PROGRESS THAT HAS BEEN 
MADE." HALL 
 
                       UNCLASSIFIED 
 
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 2003ROME00791 - Classification: UNCLASSIFIED