The cost of a nutritious diet for nutrition programs assessed In Kyrgyzstan
The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) in the Kyrgyz Republic presented the results of a large-scale assessment of “Filling the nutrient gap” based on estimates of the cost of diets. The Deputy Prime Minister of the Kyrgyz Republic for Social Affairs Altynay Omurbekova, representatives of the ministries of health, education, agriculture, social development, the National Statistical Committee, civil society and international organizations attended the seminar to discuss the results of the study.
A mathematical modeling tool (linear programming) was used for analysis, which allows to calculate the minimum cost of an energy (only 2100 kcal) and nutritious diet (proteins, energy and 13 micronutrients) using locally produced food.
The study was conducted to analyze the cost of the diet, which meets all the requirements for the content of nutrients in each region of the country and estimates the proportion of the population with access to good nutrition. In addition, the tool allowed the barriers in the consumption of necessary nutrients to be analyzed and model measures to improve access to a nutritious diet.
“The government of Kyrgyzstan prioritizes the eradication of all forms of malnutrition as factors of socioeconomic regression, for this purpose we adopted the Food Security and Nutrition Program” said Altynay Omurbekova, Deputy Prime Minister of the Kyrgyz Republic for Social Affairs, during the presentation of the research results. “We recognize the importance of a high-quality, evidence-based analysis of nutritional problems for a timely response and we are grateful to our partners for the initiative to calculate the cost of good nutrition.”
The analysis revealed that almost all households in the country can afford an energy diet that provides 2100 kcal per person per day. However, a full-fledged diet covering energy, protein and 13 nutrient requirements will cost a family of 5 people almost 4.5 times more expensive and will be available only for three out of five households in the country.
Experts also found that eating disorders, although directly related to household incomes and the availability of food, cannot be eradicated only by increasing incomes and improving access to and availability of nutritious foods in family diets. To solve these problems, comprehensive measures are required in the fields of education, health, agriculture and social protection, as well as programs for the development of healthy eating habits. For example, it is necessary to enrich food products (flour and salt), implement micronutrient supplementation programs for vulnerable groups (iron and folic acid) and school nutrition, and strengthen social protection measures (benefits and social contracts). When combining these measures, you can significantly increase the number of families with access to a nutritious diet – up to 95 per cent of families.
“Only through joint efforts and multisectoral programs we can solve the problems of malnutrition,” said Andrea Bagnoli, WFP Country Director for Kyrgyzstan. “Comprehensive measures will eliminate the triple burden and will contribute to the development of human capital in the country and create conditions for vulnerable families to fully reveal their potential.”