Nutritional State of Children in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK): Based on the DPRK Final Report of the National Nutrition Survey 2012

Pediatr Gastroenterol Hepatol Nutr. 2014 Sep;17(3):135-9. doi: 10.5223/pghn.2014.17.3.135. Epub 2014 Sep 30.


A nationwide nutrition survey began when the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) requested assistance from international relief organizations in 1997 due to flooding in 1995-1996, followed by the worsening food shortage peak in 1997. According to reported data for the 15 years since the active intervention and assistance from international societies, the malnutrition and mortality rates of children in the DPRK have improved. However, the prevalence of the stunting reported in the latest 2012 report is 27.9%, which is still a moderate-severe level, and worrisome in terms of international standards. In particular, the prevalence in Ryangangdo, which is regarded as the worst region in the DPRK, is 39.6%, which is a very high level of stunting. To alleviate such regional deviation will be a major task for future assistance. In addition, one cannot emphasize too highly the importance of early nutritional assistance for pregnant women and infants, considering that the recovery from stunted growth is low after two years of age, and the aftereffects would continue for the rest of their lives.

Keywords: Child; Democratic People's Republic of Korea; Nutirition status; Nutrition surveys.

Publication types

  • Review