Report Finds Juntos Program Helps Decrease Malnutrition

A government-run program has helped decrease malnutrition in children younger than 5 years old by almost eight percentage points between 2008 and 2010, according to a study by the Central Bank and the research group Grade.

According to a press release from the program, known as Juntos, chronic malnutrition has declined from 22.9 percent in 2008 to 15 percent in 2010 among high-risk children who participate in the program.

The release said that for children not affiliated in the program, chronic malnutrition has been steady within a range of 18.5 percent and 17.7 percent during the same period.

The Juntos program, founded in 2005 during the Toledo administration, provides low-income families with 200 soles ($75) every two months in order to support health and education needs. There are currently 492,000 homes registered in the program, located within 14 of Peru’s departments. More than one million children benefit from the program, according to the Juntos program.

One of President Ollanta Humala’s main campaign promises was to expand the Juntos program.

The report said that a large part of the funds received by the families is used to buy more nutritious food for the children. The program also helps families to consume safe drinking water and improve their kitchens, among other measures that help improve nutrition.

“The results suggest that Juntos has had an impact on the early nutritional state [of children],” the report said. “Its impact has been to reduce extreme chronic malnutrition.”

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