Bangladesh has experienced rapid economic growth and achieved major health improvements in the past decade, but malnutrition rates remain high. A nationally representative study conducted in 2011 assessed the dietary habits of 841 children 24–59 months old; 1428 children 6–14 years old; and 1412 non-pregnant, non-lactating women. The study’s objective was to assess dietary intakes of key micronutrients and the consumption pattern of potentially fortifiable foods, and then to model the potential impact of fortification of key staple foods.
The current intakes of several micronutrients, namely, iron, zinc, folate, vitamin A and vitamin B12, were found to be insufficient to meet the needs of Bangladesh’s children and women. The fortification of rice with iron and zinc and edible oil with vitamin A has the potential to fill a significant part of the nutrient gap, as these are consumed widely and in significant amounts. Wheat flour and sugar are not as promising food vehicles in the Bangladeshi context, as they were consumed by a smaller portion of the population and in smaller amounts. In conclusion, fortification of rice and oil is recommended to address the large gap in micronutrient intakes.