Household dietary diversity and food expenditures are closely linked in rural Bangladesh, increasing the risk of malnutrition due to the financial crisis

Andrew L. Thorne-Lyman, Natalie Valpiani, Kai Sun, Richard D. Semba, Christine L. Klotz, Klaus Kraemer, Nasima Akhter, Saskia De Pee, Regina Moench-Pfanner, Mayang Sari, Martin W. Bloem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In Bangladesh, rice prices are known to be positively associated with the prevalence of child underweight and inversely associated with household nongrain food expenditures, an indicator of dietary quality. The collection of reliable data on household expenditures is relatively time consuming and requires extensive training. Simple dietary diversity scores are increasingly used as measures of food security and as proxies for nutrient adequacy. This study examines associations between a simple dietary diversity score and commonly used indicators of socioeconomic status in Bangladesh. Data representative of rural Bangladesh was collected from 188,835 households over 18 rounds of bi-monthly data collection from 2003-2005. A simple household dietary diversity score was developed by summing the number of days each household consumed an item from each of 7 food groups over a 7-d period. The dietary diversity score was associated with per capita nongrain food expenditures (r = 0.415), total food expenditures (r = 0.327), and total household expenditures (r = 0.332) using Spearman correlations (all P<0.0001). The frequency ofmeat and egg consumption showed greater variation across quintiles of total monthly expenditure than other items contributing to the dietary diversity score. After controlling for other measures of socioeconomic status in multiple linear regression models, the dietary diversity score was significantly associated with monthly per capita food and total expenditures. Low dietary diversity during the period prior to major food price increases indicates potential risk for worsening of micronutrient deficiencies and child malnutrition in Bangladesh.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)182S-188S
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Volume140
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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