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SEOUL, May 5 -- Nearly one in five children under the age of five in North Korea suffer from stunted growth, and the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic is likely to exacerbate the trend for some years to come, an international report showed Wednesday.
The child stunting rate in the impoverished state was measured at 18.2 percent, or 317,800 children under the age of five, at the end of 2020, Yonhap news agency reported a joint research by the UN Children's Fund, the World Health Organsation and the World Bank published this month, said.
The percentage marks a decline from the 2012 figure of 26.1 percent, but it still falls short of the international standards, the report said.
The proportions for overweight children under the age of five came to 1.9 percent, representing 32,200, slightly up from 1.3 percent in 2012.
Globally, 149.2 million children under five suffered from stunting in 2020.
The report noted that the 2020 findings do not fully reflect the COVID-19 impact on the countries studied as the bulk of the research was conducted prior to the outbreak of the pandemic.
But it said that the COVID-19 impact has likely worsened the malnutrition trend and the numbers of affected children may increase "substantially due to constraints in accessing nutritious diets and essential nutrition services" during the pandemic.