Does Agriculture Promote Diet Diversity? A Bangladesh Study
It is now widely recognised that intake of sufficient dietary energy does not ensure adequate intake of protein and micronutrients necessary for leading an active and healthy life. Legumes, animal products, fruit and vegetables are important sources of minerals and micronutrients. Micronutrient deficiency causes impaired cognitive development, compromises immunity and incresses vulnerability to infectious diseases and, in severe cases, even causes mortality.
Recent studies show that the consumption of animal and fish products, which are dense in protein and micronutrients, has a higher correlation with nutritional status than does energy consumption. Thus, to improve the nutritional situation it is crucial that issues of dietry quality are addressed in addition to those of dietry quantity.
The rate of decline in undernutrition and malnutrition in Bangladesh has not been matching economic and agricultural progress. The persistence of undernutrition is considered a serious public health problem in Bangladesh. This paper aims to estimate the recent changes in diet diversity from the detailed food intake data estimated from the household income and expenditure surveys, and analyse the drivers of change, including the level of income and sources of income such as agriculture.