Production of fruits and vegetables at the homestead is an important source of vitamin A among women in rural Bangladesh

M. W. Bloem, N. Huq, J. Gorstein, S. Burger, T. Kahn, N. Islam, S. Baker, F. Davidson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Vitamin A deficiency is considered to be an important public health problem in Bangladesh. A universal biannual distribution of high-dose vitamin A capsules has been in place for over the past two decades. This supplementation has been beneficial for preschool children. Bangladesh has been exploring more sustainable approaches for all segments of the population. To support this initiative, Helen Keller International has implemented a home-gardening promotion project since 1993. This project is executed on a large scale and currently reaches an estimated 244 000 families. Methods: This paper presents data from 7341 women of reproductive age which were collected as part of the baseline census of a community monitoring system whose objective is to track progress and measure the impact of home-gardening activities. Results: Vitamin A intake in this population derived almost entirely from the consumption of fruits and vegetables. Logistic regression analyses showed that maternal vitamin A intake was determined by qualitative indicators of homestead gardens (type of home garden, the total quantity of provitamin A-rich foods produced and the number of fruits and vegetables varieties grown in the garden) after adjusting for socio-economic status. Conclusions: These results indicate that traditional production of provitamin A-rich fruits and vegetables in the homestead may provide a valuable contribution to vitamin A intake in communities where alternative dietary sources of vitamin A are scarce.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S62-S67
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue numberSUPPL. 3
StatePublished - Jul 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Bangladesh
  • Fruits
  • Home-gardening
  • Provitamin A
  • Vegetables

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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