Dietary diversity plays an important role in child undernutrition and food security in Bangladesh

In the last six or seven years, there have been some excellent scientific publications by Arimond and Ruel, Kennedy and colleagues, and Sawadogo demonstrating that dietary diversity is correlated with growth, micronutrient intake in children under five years of age as well as household food security and stability. Two new papers were just published in Journal of Nutrition and the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, both excellent journals, reconfirming this idea – diet diversity is a predictor of food and nutrition security in Bangladesh. The first paper, showed that diet diversity is correlated with stunting (a good poverty indicator and of course, an excellent indicator on long-term child nutritional status) in Bangladesh. Bangladesh although improving, has huge issues with stunting (over 40% of children under five are moderately to severely stunted). It doesn’t just stop at stunting though. Poor diet diversity was also shown to strongly correlated with maternal education, ownership of cultivated land, and length of breastfeeding. Another parallel study by Andrew Thorne-Lyman demonstrated that diet diversity is also associated with household expenditures. The study concluded that low diet diversity is a risky endeavor particularly in times of major food price increases in Bangladesh.

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