Topical Area: Global Nutrition
Objectives : The rapidly increasing burden of non-communicable diseases (NCD) constitutes a major public health challenge undermining future social and economic development. Using Bangladesh as a case study, we review gaps in health and nutrition behavior throughout the life-cycle and suggest possible policy and program solutions
Methods : We utilized a conceptual framework lightly adapted from the WHO Package of Essential Non-communicable Disease Interventions for Primary Health Care in Low Resource Settings. This framework guided the review of secondary literature using peer-reviewed articles and grey literature including reports, policy documents, and policy briefs.
Risk factors identified include sub-optimal breastfeeding and complementary feeding with caregivers frequently resorting to prepackaged junk food for children, particularly in urban settings. For older children, many schools are unable to promote physical activity and do not include life-skills training. There is also high promotion of tobacco products to adolescents and adults, with little regulation, resulting in high use rates. Adults who have NCD also have poor control and knowledge of their condition, leading to inadequate care.
Among infants, risks could be reduced through better enforcement of restrictions on the marketing of breastmilk substitutes and the mandated provision of six-month maternity leave for working women. For older children, additional taxes on junk foods partnered with improved communication campaigns on consumption of locally available, nutritious, and low-cost complementary foods could nudge diets into healthier patterns. Life skill training in school would improve the nutrition and health knowledge of the population, promote better diets, and discourage tobacco and substance abuse. Bangladesh has no wide-spread community-based tobacco cessation program or peer-educator program for adults suffering from NCD to learn more about their condition along with encouraging regular care-seeking.
Current policies and programs need to realize the changing dimensions that influence NCDs in Bangladesh. A multisectoral life course approach is needed to address the risk factors to halt the progression of NCD.
Funding Sources :
The program was funded by the Netherlands government under Netherland Fellowship program (Former NFP, currently known as OKP). The preparation of this abstract was funded by the EU.