Journal of Food Security
ISSN (Print): 2372-0115 ISSN (Online): 2372-0107 Website: Editor-in-chief: Apply for this position
Open Access
Journal Browser
Journal of Food Security. 2013, 1(2), 52-57
DOI: 10.12691/jfs-1-2-7
Open AccessArticle

Food Insecurity and Child Undernutrition: Evidence from BDHS 2011

Md. Mehedi Hasan1, , Sayem Ahmed2 and Md. Atiqul Hoque Chowdhury3

1Food Security Nutritional Surveillance Project, Helen Keller International, Dhaka, Bangladesh

2Health Economics & financing Research Group, icddr,b Dhaka, Bangladesh

3Department of Public Health, University of South Asia, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Pub. Date: December 16, 2013

Cite this paper:
Md. Mehedi Hasan, Sayem Ahmed and Md. Atiqul Hoque Chowdhury. Food Insecurity and Child Undernutrition: Evidence from BDHS 2011. Journal of Food Security. 2013; 1(2):52-57. doi: 10.12691/jfs-1-2-7


Food insecurity has prejudicial impact in protecting child undernutrition. To explore this, using nationally representative two-stage stratified sample from Bangladesh demographic and health survey 2011 data collected from mothers about their household and child born during their last delivery, a total of 5904 children having valid information of all variables selected for this study were analyzed. Following the WHO guidelines and cut-off points, the prevalence of nutritional status- stunting (40.2%), underweight (35.7%) and wasting (16.3%) were accessed by the Z-scores approach of anthropometric criterion height-for-age, weight-for-age and weight-for-height respectively. The Household Food Insecurity Access Scale (HFIAS) measure was used to measure household food insecurity in this study. Food insecurity of household was discovered to have significant impact on child undernutrition in the form of stunting (OR = 1.62, 95% confidence interval: 1.42, 1.85, p< 0.01), underweight (OR = 1.80, 95% confidence interval: 1.58, 2.06, p < 0.01) and wasting (OR = 1. 28, 95% confidence interval: 1.09, 1.51, p < 0.01). These findings persisted even after adjusted for some significant socioeconomic characteristics. It indicates that a sufficient reduction of food insecurity is obvious for protecting child from undernutrition.

food insecurity stunting underweight wasting reduction Bangladesh

Creative CommonsThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit


[1]  R. E. Black, L. H. Allen, Z. A. Bhutta, L. E. Caulfield, M. de Onis, M. Ezzati, C. Mathers, and J. Rivera, “Maternal and child undernutrition: global and regional exposures and health consequences.,” Lancet, vol. 371, no. 9608, pp. 243-60, Jan. 2008.
[2]  United Nations Children’s Fund; World Health Organization; The World Bank., “UNICEF-WHO-World Bank Joint Child Malnutrition Estimates,” New York, 2012.
[3]  N. I. of P. R. and T. (NIPORT); M. and A. M. International, “Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey 2011,” Dhaka, Bangladesh and Calverton, Maryland, USA, 2013.
[4]  J. A. Ricci and S. Becker, “Risk factors for wasting and stunting among children in Metro Cebu, Philippines.,” Am. J. Clin. Nutr., vol. 63, no. 6, pp. 966-75, Jun. 1996.
[5]  A. Rahman and S. Chowdhury, “Determinants of chronic malnutrition among preschool children in Bangladesh.,” J. Biosoc. Sci., vol. 39, no. 2, pp. 161-73, Mar. 2007.
[6]  C. Nazneen, M. Ataharul, and C. Nitai, “Infant and child feeding practices in Bangladesh: Evidence from BDHS 1993-94,” Dem India, pp. 26-27, 1997.
[7]  A. Bhuiya, S. Zimicki, and S. D’Souza, “Socioeconomic Differentials in Child Nutrition and Morbidity in a Rural Area of Bangladesh,” J. Trop. Pediatr., vol. 32, no. 1, pp. 17-23, Feb. 1986.
[8]  N. J. Binkin, R. Yip, L. Fleshood, and F. L. Trowbridge, “Birth Weight and Childhood Growth,” Pediatrics, vol. 82, no. 6, pp. 828-834, Dec. 1988.
[9]  N. Alam, B. Wojtyniak, and M. M. Rahaman, “Anthropometric indicators and risk of death.,” Am. J. Clin. Nutr., vol. 49, no. 5, pp. 884-8, May 1989.
[10]  L. Raman, “Influence of maternal nutritional factors affecting birthweight,” Am J Clin Nutr, vol. 34, no. 4, pp. 775-783, Apr. 1981.
[11]  R. Bairagi and M. K. Chowdhury, “Socioeconomic and anthropometric status, and mortality of young children in rural Bangladesh.,” Int. J. Epidemiol., vol. 23, no. 6, pp. 1179-84, Dec. 1994.
[12]  L. Liu, H. L. Johnson, S. Cousens, J. Perin, S. Scott, J. E. Lawn, I. Rudan, H. Campbell, R. Cibulskis, M. Li, C. Mathers, and R. E. Black, “Global, regional, and national causes of child mortality: an updated systematic analysis for 2010 with time trends since 2000.,” Lancet, vol. 379, no. 9832, pp. 2151-61, Jun. 2012.
[13]  S. A. Anderson, “Core indicators of nutritional state for difficult-to-sample populations,” J. Nutr., 1990.
[14]  W. S. Wolfe and E. A. Frongillo, “Building household food-security measurement tools from the ground up,” Food Nutr. Bull., vol. 22, no. 1, pp. 5-12, 2001.
[15]  J. Coates, E. A. Frongillo, B. L. Rogers, P. Webb, P. E. Wilde, and R. Houser, “Commonalities in the Experience of Household Food Insecurity across Cultures: What Are Measures Missing?,” J. Nutr., vol. 136, no. 5, p. 1438S–1448, May 2006.
[16]  J. Coates, A. Swindale, and P. Bilinksy, “Household Food Insecurity Access Scale (HFIAS) for Measurement of Food Access: Indicator Guide. Food and Nutrition Technical Assistance (FANTA), Version 2,” Washington DC, 2006.
[17]  FAO IFAD and WFP., “The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2013: The multiple dimensions of food security.,” Rome, 2013.
[18]  A. Yousuf and J. Rahman, “Economic growth in Bangladesh: experience and policyu priorities,” 2010.
[19]  WHO, “The World Health Growth Standards,” Geneva, 2010.
[20]  P. Hunt, “World Food Crisis Worsens,” Irish Independent, 12-Oct-2009.
[21]  FAO, “The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2001,” Rome, 2002.
[22]  A. Bilinsky, P. Swindale, “Household Dietary Diversity Score (HDDS) for Measurement of Household Food Access: Indicator Guide Version 2,” Washington DC, 2006.
[23]  J. Coates, A. Swindale, and P. Bilinsky, “Household Food Insecurity Scale (HFIAS) for Measurement of Food Access: Indicator Guide. Food and Nutrition Technical Assistance (FANTA), Version 3,” Washington DC, 2007.
[24]  D. H. Holben, “Position of the American Dietetic Association: food insecurity and hunger in the United States.,” J. Am. Diet. Assoc., vol. 106, no. 3, pp. 446–58, Mar. 2006.
[25]  A. M. Pheley, D. H. Holben, A. S. Graham, and C. Simpson, “Food security and perceptions of health status: a preliminary study in rural Appalachia.,” J. Rural Health, vol. 18, no. 3, pp. 447-54, Jan. 2002.
[26]  K. Alaimo, C. M. Olson, and E. A. Frongillo, “Family food insufficiency, but not low family income, is positively associated with dysthymia and suicide symptoms in adolescents.,” J. Nutr., vol. 132, no. 4, pp. 719-25, Apr. 2002.
[27]  K. Alaimo, C. M. Olson, E. A. Frongillo, and R. R. Briefel, “Food insufficiency, family income, and health in US preschool and school-aged children.,” Am. J. Public Health, vol. 91, no. 5, pp. 781-6, May 2001.
[28]  P. H. Casey, K. Szeto, S. Lensing, M. Bogle, and J. Weber, “Children in food-insufficient, low-income families: prevalence, health, and nutrition status.,” Arch. Pediatr. Adolesc. Med., vol. 155, no. 4, pp. 508-14, Apr. 2001.
[29]  J. M. Murphy, C. A. Wehler, M. E. Pagano, M. Little, R. E. Kleinman, and M. S. Jellinek, “Relationship between hunger and psychosocial functioning in low-income American children.,” J. Am. Acad. Child Adolesc. Psychiatry, vol. 37, no. 2, pp. 163-70, Feb. 1998.
[30]  K. Siefert, C. M. Heflin, M. E. Corcoran, and D. R. Williams, “Food insufficiency and the physical and mental health of low-income women.,” Women Health, vol. 32, no. 1-2, pp. 159-77, Jan. 2001.
[31]  J. E. Stuff, P. H. Casey, K. L. Szeto, J. M. Gossett, J. M. Robbins, P. M. Simpson, C. Connell, and M. L. Bogle, “Household Food Insecurity Is Associated with Adult Health Status,” J. Nutr., vol. 134, no. 9, pp. 2330-2335, Sep. 2004.
[32]  S. Psaki, Z. A. Bhutta, T. Ahmed, S. Ahmed, P. Bessong, M. Islam, S. John, M. Kosek, A. Lima, C. Nesamvuni, P. Shrestha, E. Svensen, M. McGrath, S. Richard, J. Seidman, L. Caulfield, M. Miller, and W. Checkley, “Household food access and child malnutrition: results from the eight-country MAL-ED study,” Popul. Health Metr., vol. 10, no. 1, p. 24, Jan. 2012.
[33]  D. M. Matheson, J. Varady, A. Varady, and J. D. Killen, “Household food security and nutritional status of Hispanic children in the fifth grade,” Am J Clin Nutr, vol. 76, no. 1, pp. 210-217, Jul. 2002.
[34]  M. Hackett, H. Melgar-Quiñonez, and M. C. Álvarez, “Household food insecurity associated with stunting and underweight among preschool children in Antioquia, Colombia,” Rev. Panam. Salud Pública, vol. 25, no. 6, pp. 506-510, Jun. 2009.
[35]  H. C. Gooding, C. E. Walls, and T. K. Richmond, “Food Insecurity and Increased BMI in Young Adult Women,” Obesity, vol. 20, no. 9, pp. 1896-1901, 2009.
[36]  National Planning Commission Secretariate of Nepal and UNICEF, “Nepal Multiple Indicator Surveillance (NMIS), Early Childhood Feeding, Nutrition and Development, Fourth Cycle,” 1996.
[37]  V. Mishra and R. Ratherford, “Women’s Education Can Improve Child Nutrition in India.In Bulletin National Family Health Survey,” Mumbai, 2000.
[38]  S. Handa, “Maternal Education and Child Height,” Econ. Dev. Cult. Change, vol. 47, no. 2, pp. 421-439, 1999.
[39]  M. B. Frost, R. Forste, and D. W. Haas, “Maternal education and child nutritional status in Bolivia: finding the links,” Soc. Sci. Med., vol. 60, no. 2, pp. 395-407, 2005.
[40]  J. Kabubo-Mariara, G. K. Ndenge, and D. K. Mwabu, “Determinants of Children’s Nutritional Status in Kenya: Evidence from Demographic and Health Surveys,” J. Afr. Econ., vol. 18, no. 3, pp. 363-387, Dec. 2008.
[41]  B. A. Abuya, E. O. Onsomu, J. K. Kimani, and D. Moore, “Influence of maternal education on child immunization and stunting in Kenya.,” Matern. Child Health J., vol. 15, no. 8, pp. 1389-99, Nov. 2011.
[42]  H. Wamani, A. N. Astrøm, S. Peterson, J. K. Tumwine, and T. Tylleskär, “Predictors of poor anthropometric status among children under 2 years of age in rural Uganda.,” Public Health Nutr., vol. 9, no. 3, pp. 320-6, May 2006.