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From VOA Learning English, this is the Science Report.
Cambodia grows enough rice to feed its people. But millions still lack vitamins and minerals. This lack of micronutrients affects mental and physical development and can cause lifelong problems. Tim Green is a nutrition expert from Canada’s University of British Columbia. He led a food project in rural
Cambodia. Mr. Green says diversity, or many kinds of foods, is an important part of a healthy diet. The more kinds of meat, rice and vegetables that people eat, the better. But he says that is not the case in Cambodia. Although diets are reasonably diverse, people eat tiny amounts of food. The lack of nutrients is sometimes called “hidden hunger.” It is especially a problem for children and women. The lack of Vitamin B1 is common and very young babies can die quickly if they lack B1. Mr. Green’s team solved the problem by adding Vitamin B1 to fish sauce. They worked on a $3 million project called “Fish on Farms,” involving 900 poor families. The goal was to improve nutrition by diversifying their food intake. They helped 300 families establish vegetable gardens. Another 300 others got vegetable gardens and ponds in which to raise fish. The remaining 300 families, the control group, got nothing. After three years the families with both fish ponds and vegetable gardens were doing better than those who only had vegetable gardens. All 600 families were doing better than the control group. Now the program has been expanded to 4,500 poor families in four provinces, with the help of the non-profit group Helen Keller International.