Consumption insight study on adolescent girls' food consumption behaviour in Bangladesh

Adolescence is a transitional phase of the lifecycle between childhood and adulthood that involves rapid social, physical, and emotional change. Research has consistently shown that adolescents frequently have less than optimal eating habits, increasing the risk of a number of nutritional problems, including undernutrition, overweight and obesity, iron deficiency anaemia, and micronutrient deficiencies. In low income countries where childbearing begins early, the impact of poor nutritional status on the next generation is also of serious concern. In Bangladesh, adolescents 10-19 years of age constitute over one fifth of the total population, including 13.7 million girls and 14 million boys. Nutritional intake is critical at this stage of growth and development.

The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) supports public-private partnerships to increase access to missing nutrients in diets which are necessary in order for people, communities and economies to be stronger and healthier. GAIN has become increasingly interested in understanding factors influencing the nutritional status and food consumption habits of adolescent girls, as well as their exposure to forms of media or other innovative communication channels.

The aim of this consumer information study was to provide context-specific information that can guide the development of behaviour change interventions aimed to promote improved eating behaviour of adolescent girls in Bangladesh. Specifically, qualitative research was used to examine individual motivations, social and environmental influences, and large macrosystems that affect food consumption behaviour in adolescent girls living in poor households in four communities spanning the country.

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