Bangladesh faces several challenges in ensuring age-appropriate nutrition to growing children.
Bangladesh faces several challenges in ensuring age-appropriate nutrition to growing children which is critical for avoiding undernutrition during early development.
For secured sustenance and developing a strong immune system, a child must be given only breastmilk for the first six months. After this period, caregivers must introduce some foods into their diets and continue breastfeeding until age two.
This practice, known as complementary feeding, is the transition from exclusive breastfeeding to family foods. It is crucial for meeting a child’s increased nutritional needs and covers the 6-24 month period, critical for physical growth and cognitive development.
Nutrient deficiencies and illnesses during this period contribute globally to higher rates of undernutrition among children under five. Many parents are inadequately informed about when and how to feed their children complementary food alongside breastfeeding — when to start, frequency and minimum dietary diversity.
Household food insecurity affects a quarter of the population. Families with limited incomes cannot always buy protein such as fish and meat. Nationally, age-appropriate complementary feeding rates are very low and in some areas like urban slums, alarmingly so.