Double burden of malnutrition in Cambodia: micronutrient deficiencies are prevalent in both undernourished and overweight women

Abstract Number Theme Presentation Type Cover Approved
0112 Micronutrients, overweight and obesity Poster Not Approved


Abstract Content


Although later than in most other countries in South-East Asia, the prevalence of obesity is also on the rise in Cambodia. We combined the data from the Cambodian Demographic Health Survey (CDHS-2014) with the Cambodian Micronutrient Survey to examine whether micronutrient deficiencies are mainly restricted to undernourished women, or are affecting the whole population.


One-sixth of households with children less than 6 years of age who had participated in the CDHS-2014 were revisited within 2 months to obtain biomarkers of micronutrient status. Data on micronutrient status was available 728 women.


Overall, 13% of the women were classified as chronic malnourished (BMI<18.5), 17.7% undernourished (BMI 18.5-20.0), 15.5% overweight (BMI 25-30) and 4.3% obese (BMI>30). Although anemia prevalence was lowest in the overweight women (32.0%), the difference with the other groups (42.5%-51.7%) was not statistical significant. Prevalence of micronutrient deficiency did not differ between the BMI categories, with for example the prevalence of severe zinc deficiency (plasma zinc <0.70mmol/L) ranging from 20.4% in the overweight to 31.7% in the undernourished women or of marginal vitamin A status (RBP<1.05mmol/L) ranging from 10.6% in the overweight women to 4.2% in the malnourished women (all p>0.05).


Micronutrient deficiencies affect all Cambodian women, regardless of overall nutritional status. Strategies are needed that target the whole population. Emphasis on quality rather quantity of food items is urgently needed.

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