Nutritious food not affordable for majority population14 May 2022
High costs made nutritious foods like vegetables and fresh fruits unaffordable to Bangladesh's large number of consumers. The grim picture of people's unaffordability to purchase nutritious food was revealed by a research conducted by the Institute of Nutrition and Food Sciences and the Institute of Health Economics at the University of Dhaka is no doubt very disturbing. It said 41 per cent of the country's households could not afford to buy healthy food. Families below the poverty line or just above that are not able to buy the necessary nutritional food. Again because of awareness some people, who have the ability, buy less nutritional food instead of nutritive ones.
Another study conducted by the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) says that 21 million people in Bangladesh, one in eight people, still do not have access to nutritious food. Many people are being deprived of essential nutrients due to unrestrained eating habits and lack of consciousness. Due to this, it further says 31 per cent of the children are not developing properly.
The first study report cited that people are suffering from various levels of malnutrition, with 28 per cent of children under the age of five being stunted while eight percent of children are underweight or severely malnourished. Forty percent of women suffer from anaemia, meaning they suffer from micronutrient deficiencies. On the other hand, 16 per cent of adult males and 18 percent of females are overweight. People give priority in cereals (rice, wheat), lentils, vegetables (leafy vegetables and leafless vegetables) in their diet, but they do not keep fruits, meat, fish, eggs, milk and dairy foods in their diet. The issue of healthy food is related to financial ability.
During the pandemic period, the poverty rate has increased in the country. As a result, people's purchasing ability has decreased. Since food is the most basic human need, it must be nutritious and healthy. If we want a healthy nation in the future, we have to ensure the minimum nutrition of every citizen. Steps also need to be taken for empowering women and girls to improve their nutritional status. Keeping the current reality in mind, it has become urgent to formulate the necessary plan of action to improve healthy diets for all.