SWG: Nutrition

dprk korea nutrition

The Sector Working Group on Nutrition aims to contribute to the optimal nutritional status of nationals of DPR Korea through multi-sectoral collaboration. Nutrition interventions have more impact within a multi-sectoral approach to ensure that both immediate and underlying causes of malnutrition are adequately addressed.


DPRK has been affected by more than a decade of chronic food insecurity and high levels of maternal and child malnutrition. This has an intergenerational impact: poor foetal growth and stunting in the first 2 years of life lead to irreversible damage, including shorter adult height, lower attained schooling, reduced adult income, lower productivity and decreased offspring birth weight.


A National Nutrition Survey, completed in 2012, gives information on the importance of strengthening the fight against stunting, through the improvement of multi-sector approaches, for an enhanced promotion of infant and young child feeding practices while curative actions are continued. Nutrition interventions address two principal aspects:


Curative actions need to be taken to prevent mortality and morbidity associated with acute malnutrition:

While considerable progress has been made to reduce malnutrition since the end of 1990s; maternal and child malnutrition is still an important public health issue in the country. Since 2011, the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) conducts Mid-Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) community screening regularly in the four North-Eastern Provinces to identify and treat the acute malnourished children.

  • Management of Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM)
  • Advocacy is on-going with the Government to strengthen the management of Moderate Acute Malnutrition (MAM)


Preventive actions need to be done to fight against stunting and prevent acute malnutrition:

DPRK already has put in place valuable key preventive nutrition interventions. Some need to be strengthened to improve Infant and Young Child Feeding practices and have an impact on stunting (chronic malnutrition) through:

  • Improvement/strengthening of Infant and Young Child Feeding practices (promotion of optimal breastfeeding and complementary feeding practices)
  • Nationwide micronutrient supplementation and deworming interventions for different age groups of children but also to pre-pregnant women, pregnant women and lactating women
  • Increased production of iodized salt and availability/accessibility of fortified complementary food adequate for different age groups of children
  • The local production of around 2,974 metric tons of fortified blended cereals and biscuits every month, which are enriched with vitamins, minerals, fats and proteins
  • The distribution of fortified cereals and biscuits to 117,000 children, and 541,000 pregnant and lactating women every month.
  • Access to health care
  • Improvement of water, sanitation and hygiene situation