Paradox in Paradise

One out of three children under the age of five in Sri Lanka underweight despite impressive social indicators. One out of three children under the age of five in Sri Lanka underweight despite impressive social indicators. “With nearly one out of three children aged five or under being underweight, Sri Lanka has unusually high rates of child malnutrition, not only in absolute terms but also in relation to its income,” says the World Bank in its report on Sri Lanka attaining the Millennium Development Goals (MDG).

Local health authorities are sceptical, but the bank’s research team insisted on Friday, at the launch of the report, that there is no mistake.

In fact, as much as 15 percent of children even from the richest households – that should have access to enough food – are underweight and stunted.

Paradoxically, child mortality rates in Sri Lanka are so low – only 13 infant deaths per 1,000 live births – they are only one fourth of what is expected of a country with Sri Lanka’s per capita income.

“Based on income levels, child mortality should be in the range of 45 to 50,” says Anil De