Change in lifestyle key to nutrition security: Study

FE Report | Published: October 20, 2018 13:04:34 | Updated: November 30, 2018 18:52:36

Bringing change in people's lifestyle is the only way to ensure the nation's nutritional security, a recent study suggests.

Despite having both availability and accessibility, nearly 76 per cent people of the country are not getting proper nutrition because of their unscientific lifestyle - as far as the food habit is concerned.

The study was conducted by the Bangladesh Institute of Research and Technology on Applied Nutrition (BIRTAN) under the Ministry of Agriculture.

The report of the study styled 'Food Habit and Lifestyle: Key to Nutrition Security' was made public at a workshop held in the city last week.

Prof Md Nazrul Islam Khan of the Institute of Nutrition and Food Science of Dhaka University presented the report at the workshop with BIRTAN director Kazi Abul Kalam in the chair.

Bangladesh has now an availability of more than 600 grams (gms) of rice per capita per day, 200 gms of vegetable, 32 gms of edible oil and 166 gms of protein (meat, fish, pulses), the study reveals.

Per capita carbohydrate consumption per day is more than 520 gms which include 420 gm rice and 80 gm wheat.

Carbohydrate consumption has reduced in the past two decades but has not been alternated with vitamin (vegetables) and protein rich foods, the study said.

Prof Md Nazrul Islam Khan said rapid urbanisation is the reason behind increased consumption of processed foods.

Excessive dependence on fast foods and unscientific lifestyle are causing malnutrition even among the upper-class people, the study found.

The study found the children malnourished - both from urban slums and posh areas like Banani, Gulshan and Baridhara.

The slum children suffer for scarcity of food while the latter do not get proper nutrition because of their lifestyle and lack of consciousness of their parents, especially mothers.

The habit of lying awake at night and sleeping during daytime and eating fast foods cause obesity, insomnia, anemia, autism and malnutrition among the people from middle and upper-middle classes, the study found.

The survey on 300 households in the urban areas found that 76 per cent people have a least daily activity or she/he does not burn their surplus calorie she/he intakes.

And most of them take excessive amount of protein and carbohydrate and least amount of vitamin, minerals.

Only 15 per cent people were found doing moderate works and getting proper nutrition thanks to having knowledge and following traditional lifestyle.

However, nine per cent were found to be engaged in vigorous works like rickshaw-pulling or real estate labour.

Income of the labourers has increased notably and they have the access to food but they also lack knowledge of nutrition as they consume carbohydrate in a large quantity.

Prof Khan said the people who do hard works should take 3,900 Kilocalorie (kcl) a day but they hardly take 2200-2400 kcl.

Prof Khan and other experts observed that leaflets or notebooks on nutrition intake should also be distributed among the parents both in the rural and urban areas.

Dr Mohammad Shah Newaj of Bangladesh National Nutrition Council, among others, spoke at the workshop.

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