One in every four adolescent in Bangladesh is still suffering from stunting, with the rate being higher in rural than in urban areas, according to a data review.
The result of the data review, disclosed at a discussion in the city’s CIRDAP auditorium on Thursday, also found that for adolescents aged 15-19 years, the thinness rate is 21, moderate to severe thinness rate is 5 and obesity rate is 14.
BRAC James P Grant School of Public Health and Shornokishoree Network Foundation jointly organised the discussion with supports from the World Bank and UNICEF.
BRAC James P Grant School of Public Health associate professor Malay K Mridha reviewed the data from Food Security and Nutrition Surveillance Project of the government and from International Food Policy Research Institute.
He said that the national data in between 2012-14 showed that the under-nutrition of adolescent was gradually decreasing as all the divisions except Sylhet and Chittagong witnessed improvement in nutrition during this time.
Maternal education was consistently associated with stunting in the early and late adolescent age group, he said, noting that girls’ height increases till age 14, far below the healthy norms.
It also found that children of adolescent mothers were prone to give birth to stunted children compared to adult mothers.
The average head size was also small of the children born from adolescent mothers, it finds.
Speaking as chief guest and referring to findings that Sylhet division is suffering more from malnutrition, home minister Asaduzzaman Khan said this has proved that the people in the region lacked education, knowledge and experience about nutrition.
‘We have to notice the situation with importance,’ he said.
Shornokishoree Network Foundation Nizam Uddin Ahmed said that there were plenty of policies on nutrition in the country, but the national action plans and programmes were limited.
Gerogetown University professor Alayne Adams said that only the policies would not work, unless these were implemented and more resources were allocated along with coordinated efforts from the government and non-government agencies to strengthen the fight against malnutrition.
This article was originally published in The Newage on 09 March 2018.