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PLoS One. 2019 Aug 29;14(8):e0221929. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0221929. eCollection 2019.

Association of food security and other socio-economic factors with dietary diversity and nutritional statuses of children aged 6-59 months in rural Bangladesh.

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Maternal and Child Health Division (MCHD), icddr,b, Dhaka, Bangladesh.



Dietary diversity score (DDS) is a proxy indicator for measuring nutrient adequacy. In this study, we aimed to identify the nutritional statuses and current patterns of DDS among children between 6-59 months old and their associations with different individual and household level factors in rural Bangladesh.


The Nobokoli programme of World Vision Bangladesh was implemented in Mymensingh, Sherpur, Rangpur, Dinajpur, Thakurgaon, Panchagar, and Nilphamari districts of Bangladesh between 2014 and 2017. A cross-sectional community household survey was administered between July and October 2014 to collect baseline data to evaluate the Nobokoli programme. A total of 6,468 children between 6-59 months old were included in the final analysis. Anthropometric data was collected following WHO guidelines on using wooden height and digital weight scales. We collected food intake information for the past 24 hours of the survey. The WHO's child growth standard medians were used to identify the nutritional indices of stunting, wasting, and underweight. Food items consumed were categorized into nine food groups and the DDS was constructed by counting the consumption of food items across these groups during the preceding 24 hour period. The association of DDS and nutritional status (stunting, wasting and underweight) with sociodemographic factors and household food security status were examined using multivariable models; linear regression and logistics regression respectively.


The prevalence of stunting, wasting and underweight among children aged 6-59months were 36.8%, 18.2% and 37.7% respectively. Our findings revealed that almost all children ate any form of starch followed by consumption of milk or milk products (76%) and fleshy meat /fish (61%) respectively. The mean DDS among children was 3.93(sd 1.47). Forty percent of the children obtained a DDS score less than 4. Multivariable analysis suggested that children whose mothers had higher educational attainment and are skilled workers had higher DDS (15% and 48% respectively) compared to their counterparts. The DDS showed strong positive association with household wealth status. Children from food secure households had 26% higher DDS compared to children from food insecure households. Similarly, increasing maternal education and household wealth were found to be protective against childhood stunting and undernutrition.


Our findings reiterate the need for improving household socioeconomic factors and household food security status for improving dietary diversity practices and nutritional status of children. Evidence-based solutions are needed to be implemented and expanded at scale to ensure appropriate dietary practices and improve nutritional status of the children in local context.

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