Food Crisis, Nutrition, and Female Children in Rural Bangladesh


Bairagi, Radheshyam. 1986. “Food Crisis, Nutrition, and Female Children in Rural Bangladesh.” Population and Development Review 12 (2): 307–15.

Author: Radheshyam Bairagi


Although almost all nations show lower female than male mortality, Bangladesh and certain other developing countries show higher female mortality rates. Among children aged 1 to 4 in Bangladesh, female mortality rates are 45% higher for girls than for boys. This paper examines whether 1) sex biased attitudes toward nutrition (as expressed in terms of food intake) are more marked during food crises, and 2) these biases are related to the socioeconomic status of the family. The study measured weight and height of approximately 1400 children aged 1 to 4 in Bangladesh from April 1975 (10 months after the famine began) through December 1976 (14 months after the famine ended). The findings clearly indicate that sex and social status are strong correlates of nutritional status. Children of higher status families with larger homes fared better throughout the time period. Within each status category, boys fared better than girls. While poor families were harder hit by famine than wealthier ones, male-female nutritional discrimination was stronger among the higher classes. These differences were accentuated during the famine period. Policy makers and planners in Bangladesh must be made aware that such sex biases exist and that these patterns are exacerbated during food shortages. (NCBI)

Topics: Class, Economies, Economic Inequality, Poverty, Environment, Environmental Disasters, Food Security, Gender, Girls Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Bangladesh

Year: 1986

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