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Food consumption, energy and nutrient intake and nutritional status in rural Bangladesh: changes from 1981–1982 to 1995–96


Objective: To determine and evaluate changes in nutritional status, food consumption, energy and nutrient intake in rural Bangladesh, using appropriate statistical analyses.

Design: Repeated cross-sectional surveys. Two seasons in 1981–1982 and 1995–1996.

Setting: Two villages with different production patterns.

Subjects: Anthropometric measurements of 1883 individuals, food consumption data of 404 households.

Methods: Repeated measurements of one-day food weighing and anthropometry in two seasons in 1981–1982 and 1995–1996. Mixed model analyses were used to evaluate and quantify temporal changes and their interactions with determinants.

Results: Prevalence of underweight children decreased from 82 to 70% (P=0.015), wasted children from 34% to 18% (P=0.009) and chronic energy deficient adults decreased from 78 to 64% (P<0.0001). Intake of fish and green leafy vegetables increased from (l.s. mean±s.e.) 23±3.0 to 40±1.8 g/person/day (P<0.001) and from 28±4.5 to 41±2.7 g/person/day (P=0.019), respectively. Rice intake remained unchanged: 463±12 g raw/person/day in 1981–1982 and 450±7.3 g raw/person/day in 1995–1996 (P=0.355). Calcium and iron intakes increased by 40% (P<0.0001) and 16% (P=0.0002), respectively, whereas vitamin A intake remained unchanged.

Conclusions: Nutritional status improved and intakes of nutrient dense food groups, fat, iron and calcium increased from 1981–1982 to 1995–1996.

Sponsorship: Supported by the Danish Council for Research in Developing Countries, the Bilateral Programme for Enhancement of Research Capacity in Developing Countries (ENRECA), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Denmark and the Ford Foundation.

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The contributors wish to thank Dr Jóhanna Haraldsdóttir from The Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Denmark (RVAU) for fruitful discussions at the final stages of preparing the manuscript and Dr Annette K. Ersbøll, also from RVAU, for statistical supervision. The members of the surveyed households as well as the field staff who conducted the surveys are thanked.

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Guarantor: O Hels.

Contributors: OH performed the statistical modelling and analyses and wrote the first draft of the manuscript. SHT co-conceived the study and was involved in writing and revising the manuscript. IT was involved in the revisions of the manuscript and in the data processing. NH co-conceived the study and was responsible for field work and data collection. All contributors were involved in preparing the final draft of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to O Hels.

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Hels, O., Hassan, N., Tetens, I. et al. Food consumption, energy and nutrient intake and nutritional status in rural Bangladesh: changes from 1981–1982 to 1995–96. Eur J Clin Nutr 57, 586–594 (2003).

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  • dietary trends
  • temporal change
  • nutritional status
  • mixed model analysis
  • Bangladesh

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