East Timor is the world’s third worst place for stunted growth in children, says a new report from the charity Save the Children.
The study shows 54 per cent of children under five in the country have restricted growth due to malnutrition.
The situation is only worse in Niger and Ethiopia.
Save the Children’s director in East Timor Georgia Noy told Radio Australia’s Connect Asia the problem can be partially blamed on the country’s challenging geography.
“Everyone kind of expects because it’s in the Pacific region, they sort of think it’s a lush Pacific area, but it’s quite dry, so challenging to actually grow the agriculture,” she said.
“Also it’s more and more challenging as food prices rise. So there’s a big dependency on white rice, which is a poor diet, so it doesn’t provide the nutrition that children need.”