Trends, Patterns and Issues of Child Malnutrition in Bangladesh
Good nutrition is a prerequisite for the national development of countries and wellbeing of individuals. Although problems related to poor nutrition affect the entire population, but children and women are especially vulnerable because of their unique physiology and socioeconomic characteristics. Bangladesh is among the top listed countries where the prevalence of malnutrition is highest in the world. According to UNICEF, malnutrition rates have seen a marked decline in Bangladesh throughout the 1990s, but remained high at the turn of the decade. A number of studies have been done by national and international organizations to evaluate the nutritional situation of Bangladesh. According to the latest national study, 41 percent of children under age 5 are stunted, 16 percent are wasted and 36 percent are underweight. The prevalence of anemia among infants, adolescent girls and pregnant women is still at unacceptable levels. The present study is an attempt to determine the trends and patterns of malnutrition among children in Bangladesh. The study also focused on potential issues of child malnutrition in Bangladesh. This study involved an analysis of secondary data and information which have been collected from different sources. The analysis shows a clear picture of the current trend and pattern of malnutrition in Bangladesh. Malnutrition and ill health are traceable partly to economic causes, food
availability and educational factors. Ignorance is perhaps the biggest hurdle facing the silent majority in Bangladesh. Women’s education, knowledge about sound feeding practices and eating habits, growth monitoring and women supportive socio-cultural norms need to be given more emphasis to overcome the present situation.
Key words: Child malnutrition, Health, Bangladesh, Child care, Food availability, Poverty, Education, Natural disaster.