Reducing dietary related risks associated with non-communicable diseases in Bangladesh
Bangladesh is undergoing a rapid demographic and epidemiological transition. More than 50% of deaths are attributed to non-communicable diseases and other chronic health conditions. For a country whose population exceeds 160 million, this translates into significant human and health care costs. The Government of Bangladesh recently adopted a multi-year Strategic Plan for Surveillance and Prevention of Non-Communicable Diseases that recognizes the importance of fruit and vegetable intake. Although there is government commitment, there is little relevant local research to guide the design of effective policies to combat the rising trend of non-communicable diseases.
A collaboration with the University of Manitoba and the Centre for Natural Resource Studies, this project will contribute to an improved understanding of the current epidemiological transition to non-communicable diseases in Bangladesh, where no cohesive baseline data currently exists. It will generate new knowledge on the cause-and-effect relationship between changing food systems, dietary practices, and disease trends, and the associated demographic, epidemiological, sociocultural, economic, behavioural, and environmental factors.
The research will improve understanding of the demand for fruit and vegetables and identify options for farmer-market-consumer initiatives that promote and support dietary shifts toward increased consumption of locally sourced vegetables. The project will also provide health and food-related policy options that respond to the current coordination gap across food, health, agriculture, and finance ministries for food systems change. It will also evaluate interventions aimed at improving consumer knowledge.
At project completion it is expected that stakeholders and the general population will have greater awareness of non-communicable diseases, associated dietary risks, and the steps towards significant dietary changes that will curb the current non-communicable diseases trend in the Bengali population.