An evaluation of the impact of a US$60 million nutrition programme in Bangladesh

Health Policy Plan. 2005 Jan;20(1):35-40. doi: 10.1093/heapol/czi004.


Objective: To compare levels of childhood malnutrition in areas where the Bangladesh Integrated Nutrition Project had been operational for over 5 years with matched non-project areas, with the purpose of evaluating whether the project had achieved its objective of reducing the prevalence of underweight among children <24 months.

Methods: The study involved an ex-post cross-sectional survey in six thanas (a locality with a population of approximately 200,000-450,000 people) in Bangladesh. Participants were 6,820 households (4,554 in the project areas and 2,266 in the non-project areas) including 7183 children aged 6-59 months selected using a two-stage stratified cluster sampling frame. Main outcome measures were moderate and severe underweight, wasting and stunting reported using z scores, and indicators of mothers' reported nutritional knowledge and practice.

Results: 2,388 children aged 6-23 months and 6815 children aged 6-59 months had clean anthropometric data. No significant difference was found between the socio-economic variables of households in the project and non-project areas. No significant difference was found in the prevalence of either severe or moderate underweight (weight-for-age) in children aged 6-23 months in the project and non-project areas: 183 (11.4%, 95% confidence interval 9.9-13.2%) children in project areas and 96 (12.2%, 95% confidence interval 9.9-14.8%) children in non-project areas. Mothers in project areas reported significantly better caring practices than in non-project areas.

Conclusion: There is no evidence that the Bangladesh Integrated Nutrition Project has achieved its objectives to reduce severe underweight by 40% if project areas are compared ex-post with non-project areas. There is urgent need to review the evidence behind investments based on growth monitoring and promotion.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Bangladesh / epidemiology
  • Body Weight
  • Child Development / physiology
  • Child Health Services / organization & administration
  • Child Health Services / standards*
  • Child Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Surveys*
  • Healthy People Programs / organization & administration
  • Healthy People Programs / standards*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Malnutrition / epidemiology*
  • Mothers / education
  • Nutrition Policy*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prevalence