The genesis of this study originates in policy concerns raised in discussions between the Government of Bangladesh represented by the Ministry of Food, and food and nutrition experts drawn from academia, NGOs and development partners.
The core focus of the study is on consumption and calorie-food intake with the objective of determining calorie-nutrient needs of a dynamically changing population in the context of rapid growth. A key objective of this study was to estimate these requirements in a methodologically sound manner to derive nutritional standards for a diverse and rapidly urbanizing population.
The findings with regard to consumption intakes and requirements appear dramatic:
- Around 67 percent of the people are engaged in light and below light activity – this is also reflected in the labour force survey figures which show that around 65 percent of the population are not economically active (housewives and students).
- Bangladeshis are on the average energy deficient. Children below 10 years of age (both boys and girls) and men age ≥ 10 years are more deficient in energy than women.
- Individuals involved in more than vigorous activity are more deficient in energy. Those who are involved in light activity are on average surplus in energy intake while the others who are involved in moderate to vigorous activity are deficient in energy.
- Diets are mostly cereal-based and on average 74-76 percent of the total calorie intake is still derived from cereals. Animal food contribution to total calorie is very low.
- Average calorie intake was found to be low at 1894 kcal derived from 684 gm of food consumed. This compares with estimated requirements based on PAL and desired body weights at just under 2200 kcal. The intake estimates are likely to have been affected by floods and seasonality.
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