Country Nutrition Situation

Although the proportion of people who are hungry in Lao PDR has been falling, the Global Nutrition Report reveals 39.7% of women and girls aged 15 to 49 years are anaemic, and 33% of children under five are affected by stunting. Health and nutrition indicators also vary considerably across the 49 ethnic groups and tend to be worse for non-Lao-Thai groups, who are twice as likely to live in poverty according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). There are a number of specific nutritional needs that SBN Laos has identified, including high rates of anaemia in women of a reproductive age (nearly 40%), child stunting (33%) and weight gains resulting from several factors, including poor diet choices and the increasing availability of unhealthy food (20-21% of adults are overweight).


Souphalack Inphonephong

SBN Lao PDR Coordinator

Governance structure

The SBN in Lao PDR is led by the National Nutrition Committee Secretariat, and supported by WFP and the European Union (EU), in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Population Services International (PSI) and Save the Children.

What is SBN doing in SBN Lao PDR

SBN Lao PDR’s strategy aligns with the government’s National Nutrition Policy to 2025, and is based upon four key priorities identified through intensive research and analysis of the private sector landscape.

Establish the Lao PDR SUN Business Network and raise its community profile

Promote improved nutrition and health initiatives in the workplace (Workforce Nutrition Programme)

Support the development and availability of nutritious foods and fortified products

Increase nutrition awareness, demand and nutrition policy perception

In alignment with these focal areas, the network’s primary activities are:

  • 1A workforce nutrition programme targeting the country’s garment and food factories
  • 2Provide support to the Government of Lao PDR to develop a national roadmap, which includes a technical guideline for rice fortification.
  • 3Develop a rice fortification initiative, including:
  • 4Encourage the government to establish a food fortification Technical Working Group (TWG), comprised of seven ministries, one institute and the National Assembly, which was endorsed by the Ministry of Health.
  • 5Completed a Fortified Food Logo competition, the winning entry of which was then submitted to related ministries and department for endorsement and approval.
  • 6Competed a first draft of the technical guideline for rice fortification in English and Lao, which will soon be reviewed by rice experts for further development.
  • 7Engage the Vientiane Capital Rice Mill Association to participate in this programme for voluntary pilot project.
  • 8Provide a platform at the national level to engage the role of the private sector in improved nutrition, food security and the country’s food supply chain through a number of networking events.