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Dhaka Tribune

Study: Over half of 1st pregnancies occur during adolescence

Update : 13 Mar 2014, 10:10 PM

More than half of the first pregnancies occur among girls during their adolescence which result in the birth of a remarkable number of underweight children, according to a study.

The study conducted in 2012 found that around 15% of infants aged between zero to three months were underweight.

Brac University and Helen Keller International conducted the study titled “Sate of Food Security and Nutrition in Bangladesh.”

The study said some 60 lakh children aged under five still faced malnutrition.

It added that around 30% of the adolescent pregnant girls were short in height in comparison with their ages as they suffered malnutrition since childhood.

The study revealed that one in four pregnant adolescent girls was so thin that their fetuses faced a moderate risk of growth retardation.

During the study across the country, it was observed that pregnant women were thinner than those non-pregnant.

Dr Zeba Mahmud, director (nutrition) of Brac Institute of Global Health, suggested enhancing care for adolescent girls to break the cycle of malnutrition.

He said the overall prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding decreased in 2012 from 2011.

The study observed that the state of food insecurity across the country had declined since late 2011.

It came up with the report that food insecurity was the highest among those households that relied on unskilled labour.

The rate of food insecurity was over 150% higher in rural areas than urban areas.

The study report also mentioned that overweight was a growing problem among women.

Helen Keller International Country Director Erica Khetran said: “Bangladesh is at risk of having the double problem of malnutrition and overweight.”

Erica added that the policy makers in Bangladesh should take steps to encourage a more active lifestyle and healthy diets to prevent the rise of diabetes and heart diseases faced so much in the western world.

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