Despite little improvement in the national rural health status, the nutritional well-being of rural people continues to be neglected. Children and women in Bangladesh suffer from high levels of malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies such as low birth weight (LBW), under nutrition (underweight, stunting and wasting), vitamin A deficiency, iodine-deficiency disorders (IDD) and iron-deficiency anemia (IDA).
Maternal under nutrition (BMI less than 18.5 kg/m2) in non-pregnant women in the country 32 % is still very high. Under nutrition, both before and during pregnancy, causes intrauterine growth retardation and is one of the major reasons for the high LBW (36 percent) prevalence in the country. It has one of the highest rates of child malnutrition, 46% stunting, 40% underweight and 15% wasting.
The typical rural diet in Bangladesh is, reportedly, not well balanced Nearly two-thirds of average Bangladeshi diet daily consists of rice, some vegetables, a little amount of pulses and small quantities of fish if and when available. Milk, milk products and meat are consumed only occasionally and in very small amounts. Fruit consumption is seasonal and includes mainly papaya and banana which are cultivated round the year. The dietary intake of cooking oil and fat is meager. While food habits vary at regional and even individual household levels, in general, due to proper lack of knowledge food preparation methods result in significant nutrient loss.
The diets of pregnant women in low-income groups are deficient not only in micronutrients but also in energy. Anemia is a severe public health problem affecting pre-school children (49 percent) and pregnant women (47 percent), and a moderate public health problem among non-pregnant women (33 percent) and adolescents (29 percent). Anemia caused by iron deficiency impairs the growth and learning ability of children, lowers resistance to infectious diseases and increases the risk of maternal death and LBW. Children are malnourished by inadequate dietary intake or infectious diseases. Adolescents, particularly girls are especially vulnerable to IDA due to low intake and absorption of iron, increased iron requirements for growth and replacement of menstrual blood losses, poor diet quality, low bioavailability of dietary iron, iron loss due to parasitic infection and adolescent pregnancy. The presence of these factors for IDA among adolescents in Bangladesh is reflected as the rate in urban, rural and peri urban area which are 29%, 30% and 27% respectively. Among the adolescent in peri urban areas, 32% had IDA.
In this regard Eminence has experience in conducting baseline, midterm and follow up study of Iron & Folate Supplementation for Adolescent Girls in rural areas to reduce Anemia for Micronutrient Initiative (MI). Moreover, Eminence has experience in assessing maternal and adolescent’s nutrition al status for Save the Children UK and Micronutrient Initiative (MI).