Adolescent Health and Sex-Bias in Nutrition in Bangladesh: Evaluating the Standards Used to Classify Malnutrition

Erin Trapp, University of Colorado at Boulder
Jane Menken, University of Colorado at Boulder

Bangladeshi children under the age of 10 have experienced significant improvements in nutrition and education, and sex differences in child nutrition have declined significantly during the past decade regardless of family structure, a tremendous change from previous observations in Matlab. However, our attempts to understand adolescent well-being and other longitudinal work that studies child nutrition in developing countries are hindered by the lack of an appropriate standard of comparison using a population in developing countries. The WHO endorsed standard population—based on U.S. children—misclassifies a large number of children in Bangladesh as malnourished, particularly in the adolescent years when rates of obesity in the U.S. begin to rise. We explore malnutrition in adolescents in Matlab, Bangladesh using the current and past standards, and test the standards for sensitivity to various thresholds to evaluate the current standards and begin a path toward a more appropriate comparison.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Session 143: Health and Education in Developing Countries