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Chapter 12: Getting to specifics: Bangladesh’s evolving nutrition policies [Nourishing Millions]


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REMARKABLE IMPROVEMENTS IN welfare and human development indicators in Bangladesh—including a notable reduction in the poverty headcount—have accompanied recent economic growth.1 Some aspects of nutrition have been part of this success story. For example, the percentage of underweight children declined by 1.1 percent per year and stunting rates declined by 1.3 percent per year between 1997 and 2007.2 And this trend has continued, with rates of child stunting falling to 36 percent in 2014 (Figure 12.1). Other countries may have experienced shorter, quicker reductions, but the Bangladesh story reflects “one of the fastest prolonged reductions in child underweight and stunting prevalence in recorded history.

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Chapter 12: Getting to specifics: Bangladesh’s evolving nutrition policies [Nourishing Millions]

  1. 1. Getting to Specifics: Bangladesh’s Evolving Nutrition Policies Peter Davis, Nicholas Nisbett, Nazneen Akhtar, and Sivan Yosef
  2. 2. Bangladesh Bangladesh sustained reductions in child underweight and stunting prevalence over the 1990s and 2000s. Impact • The percentage of underweight children declined by 1.1% per year from 1997-2007. • Stunting rates declined by 1.3% per year during the same time period. Panos/G.M.B. Akash
  3. 3. Bangladesh Factors contributing to success • Pro-poor economic growth was accompanied by declines in acute food shortages, investments in assets, improved infrastructure, and increased availability of nonfarm and manufacturing work. • Agricultural production increased. • Expanded family planning support reduced fertility. • Maternal and infant mortality declined while antenatal coverage and birth attendance by a skilled provider increased. • School attendance increased and stipend programs improved enrollments. • Access to improved drinking water sources and sanitation increased. • Women’s educational achievement increased alongside widespread participation of women in NGO-supported income generation and increased employment of women with control of their income.
  4. 4. Bangladesh: Lessons learned • Nutrition-sensitive drivers within a wider enabling environment of pro-poor economic growth have likely contributed to improvements in nutrition. Such indirect drivers have multiple impacts and are mutually reinforcing. • Nutrition-specific interventions directly aimed at improving nutritional status are needed to sustain the gains already made and to make further improvements. Panos/G.M.B. Akash