July 19, 2016 12:31
Only two in every 100 North Korean women of childbearing age have milk to drink more than once a day, and fewer than eight percent eat eggs every day, according to a study by researchers at Seoul National University.
The findings suggest terrifying levels of malnutrition in the isolated country, where the regime is pouring most of its resources into arms development.
SNU researchers published the study in the journal of the Korean Society of Community Nutrition.
In South Korea, 60.9 percent of South Korean women between 20 and 49 eat at least an egg a day, compared to just 7.7 percent of North Korean women.
While about half of South Korean women consume milk and dairy products every day, in North Korea the figure is more than 20 times smaller at 2.4 percent. Only 21.3 percent of North Korean women eat meat or fish every day.
As a result an estimated 31.2 percent of North Korean women suffer from anemia.
"The first 100 days after pregnancy determine the physical development of a child," said Prof. Yoon Ji-hyun at SNU. "It's highly likely that North Korean children who don't get sufficient nutrition from the fetal stage will suffer from poor growth later."
This study was based on a nutrition assessment report on North Korea compiled by UNICEF, the UN World Food Programme and the World Health Organization in 2012 compared with a national health and nutrition survey in South Korea.
SNU plans to develop powdered nutritional supplements to send to the North.
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