Effects of a food supplementation program on the nutritional status of pregnant women in Bangladesh
Authors: Khan, M. Mahmud; Ahmed, Shakil; Protik, Ali Ehsan; Dhar, Badal Chandra; Roy, S. K.
Source: Food & Nutrition Bulletin, Volume 26, Number 4, December 2005 , pp. 330-337(8)
Abstract:Background. The Government of Bangladesh implemented a comprehensive nutrition intervention in 1997 to reduce the rates of malnutrition among women and children. The pilot program, the Bangladesh Integrated Nutrition Program (BINP), adopted a multisectoral approach targeting women and children through food supplementation, home gardening, and health and nutrition education.
Objective. This paper estimates the effectiveness of BINP's food supplementation and nutrition education on the nutritional status of pregnant women.
Methods. Three effectiveness measures were considered: target efficiency, improvements in the nutritional status of beneficiaries, and the persistence of nutritional effects. To isolate the effects of the intervention, the nutritional status of participants and nonparticipants was compared after controlling for various demographic and socioeconomic characteristics. Data were collected in 2000 from a random sample of 3,262 households in a BINP intervention area.
Results. Thirty-nine percent of pregnant women were correctly targeted by the program's food supplementation activities. The nutrition program reduced the prevalence of thinness among participant pregnant women by about 3 percentage points per month of enrollment. The prevalence of thinness among program graduates was 62%, which was much higher than that of the matched (nonparticipant) group (35%). This finding is perplexing but it may simply imply that those who enrolled at the initial phase of the project were severely underweight and they fell back to their original status within a short period of time.
Conclusions. The nutrition program was intended to improve the nutritional status of women in the longer run through the provision of nutrition education during the food supplementation phase. The prevalence of thinness or severe underweight in women who exited the program after completion of the enrollment period was found to be much higher than in women of similar age and socioeconomic status in the community. This apparent lack of persistence of program benefits requires careful re-evaluation of alternative mechanisms for improving the long-term nutritional status of women.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: December 2005
- Established in 1978, the Food and Nutrition Bulletin (FNB) is a peer-reviewed journal published quarterly by the Nevin Scrimshaw International Nutrition Foundation in association with the United Nations University. The focus of the journal is to highlight original scientific articles on nutrition research, policy analyses, and state-of-the-art summaries relating to multidisciplinary efforts to alleviate the problems of hunger and malnutrition in the developing world.
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