Bangladesh has adopted a policy to rein in the food market in the wake of increasing obesity, diabetes and other lifestyle conditions. Under nutrition has always been a challenge in Bangladesh, but new studies find a considerable increase in obesity, creating a “dual burden” of poor nutrition.
The government last year adopted a new ‘National Nutrition Policy’ that stressed on multi-sectoral approaches to tackle the burden. “We’ll prepare an action plan to implement the policy,” Dr Md Quamrul Islam, Line Director of the National Nutrition Services told bdnews24.com on the sidelines of the dissemination of the Policy on Thursday. Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury, Health Minister Mohammed Nasim and Food Minister Qamrul Islam spoke at the dissemination programme and reiterated their commitment to make a concerted effort to combat malnutrition.
Representatives of the UN bodies, WHO, Unicef and FAO also promised to help the government to implement the policy.
This policy has recognised nutrition as the “foundation of development”. For the first time, nutrition’s multi-sectoral aspects have also been recognised in this policy.
“At least 10 ministries will have some nutrition-related works,” the Line Director Islam said. “This is a comprehensive policy that addressed all aspects of nutrition”.
On controlling food market, the policy says: “Take steps to ensure regulation of unabated marketing of processed and commercial food items given that the food habits of people, especially children, are at stake and influenced by advertisement of such tools.
“As a result, obesity, diabetes and other chronic non-communicable diseases have become an epidemic in the country. Encourage appropriate food habits and a healthy lifestyle”.The Line Director said they would “control” the market through action plans and would promote local food-based approach.
“Awareness campaign will also be taken up to sensitise people on food habits”.
Food Minister Islam said it was a pre-election promise of the ruling Awami League to have a comprehensive nutrition policy. Bangladesh could reduce 16 percent stunting rate in the last ten years, while underweight had been reduced by 10 percent during that period. The ICDDR,B researches show that “child obesity is on the rise in Bangladesh”.
The scientists also warned about the dangerous relationship between over nutrition, which is obesity, and under nutrition in developing countries, according to bdnews24.com.