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The economic consequences of high maternal and child undernutrition cannot be overstated. A combination of high maternal undernutrition and postnatal factors cause child undernutrition, which in turn can influence children’s school performance and their future occupational choices, and can undermine the future productivity of nations. Notwithstanding rapid economic growth in a number of South Asian countries (including Bangladesh and India), the pace of improvements in maternal and child undernutrition in the region remains deeply unsatisfactory. Bangladesh has made considerable progress in addressing the non-income poverty indicators for the first Millennium Development Goal (MDG1)—that is, reducing the prevalence of underweight children under five years of age—but improvements are slowing, which raises questions about whether the target will be achieved or not. Furthermore, the overall levels of maternal and child undernutrition are still high in Bangladesh, and further investments are needed to accelerate improvements and prevent the negative impact of maternal and child undernutrition on long-term development. This paper is, therefore, about the
policy focus that is needed to greatly improve the current status of maternal and children nutrition. Although overweight and obesity are emerging problems in Bangladesh, this paper will not address this aspect of undernutrition. However, it is a potential concern in the future, and this trend should be monitored.