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New nutrition policy insists on reining in Bangladesh’s food market

Bangladesh has adopted a nutrition policy that will require it to control 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.

Last year the government adopted the new ‘National Nutrition Policy’ that stresses the need to apply multi-sectoral approaches to tackling the problem.

“We’ll prepare an action plan to implement the policy,” Dr Md Quamrul Islam, Line Director of the National Nutrition Services told on the sidelines of a programme for 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 making a concerted effort to combat malnutrition.

Representatives of the UN bodies WHO, Unicef and FAO also promised to help the government implement the policy.

Comprehensive policy

This policy has recognised nutrition as the “foundation of development”.

For the first time, the multi-sectoral aspects of nutrition have been recognised in this policy.

“At least 10 ministries will have to do some work related to nutrition,” the Line Director Islam said. “This is a comprehensive policy that addresses all aspects of nutrition”.

On controlling the food market, the policy says: “Take steps to regulate the unabated marketing of processed and commercial food items given that the food habits of people, especially of children, are at stake, and are influenced by advertisement and 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 a local food-based approach.

“An awareness campaign will also be taken up to educate people on food habits”.

Food Minister Islam said it was a pre-election promise of the ruling Awami League to implement a comprehensive nutrition policy.

Bangladesh has reduced the underweight problem by 10 percent over the last ten years, and it has also reduced the stunted-growth problem by 16 percent over the same period.

Research by the ICDDR,B shows 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.

Source: Bd news24

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