253538 “Soda, fries, and chips everyday”: Parents' perception of nutrition, healthy weight, and child feeding practices in Bangladesh

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Syeda Jesmin, PhD, MPH , Sociology, University of North Texas at Dallas, Dallas, TX
Background: Like many other low-income countries, Bangladesh is grappling with childhood malnutrition, however ironically among the small urban affluent populations childhood overweight is on the rise. A 2008 study reports that among the infants prevalence of obesity and overweight might range between 14% and 26%. Parents play important roles in shaping children's eating behavior, unfortunately many are increasing consumption of fat, processed meats, snack foods and fast foods for their young children while lowering their consumption of fish and vegetables This study seeks to understand parents' perception of breastfeeding, healthy diet, nutrition, and ideal weight for their children (ages 0-5), and describe the challenges they face. Methods: twenty-two in-depth interviews were conducted with urban upper class parents recruited through snowball sampling technique. Computer software Nvivo 9 was used to code and analyze the transcribed interviews. Results: Most parents hold positive attitudes towards breastfeeding. While western-style foods were reported as preferred option for children, there was a lack of awareness about health risks of childhood overweight. When they were displayed pictures of overweight babies, only a few identified them as overweight. Older relatives and TV were listed as two important sources of information about child feeding. Their accounts suggested that there is social and familial pressure to overfeed (indulgent feeding) the child since “chubbiness” in children is encouraged and seen as a sign of health. Discussion: Findings of this study call for the need to develop and implement culturally sensitive health education programs for parents to prevent this rising health problem.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the diet and feeding style of parents in urban upper class families in Bangladesh. 2. Explain the rationale for developing health education programs for parents to promote consumption of fruit and vegetables and lower consumption of western-style foods among young children in urban upper class community.

Keywords: Child Health Promotion, Nutrition

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have collected data and conducted the analysis for the study
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.