Dietary Pattern and Anaemia Among Female Adolescent Garment Workers in Bangladesh
Introduction: In Bangladesh, many adolescents work in garment sector which is an important contributor to the country’s economy. This study aimed to investigate the dietary pattern and haemoglobin level of the adolescent female garment workers in Bangladesh. Methods: This was a cross sectional study conducted in a peri-urban area in Bangladesh in 2008. The food intake pattern was assessed by food frequency questionnaire and level of haemoglobin was estimated by haemoglobin colour scale (HbCS). Anaemia was defined as the haemoglobin level of <12 g/dl.1Results: Among 108 participants, 104 (96%) were muslim, 83 (77%) were unmarried and 54 (50%) had a primary level of education. Most of their parents were illiterate. Sixty six (61%) respondents had a large family (>5 family members, mean 5.2, SD±2.1). The mean age at menarche was 12.91±1.37 years. Majority of them worked for >12 hours (55, 51%), did not watch television (77, 71%) and had just three meals with no snacks in between the meals (97, 90%) in last seven days. Fish, pulse and fruits/vegetables were consumed for >6 times in a week by 59 (55%), 56 (52%) and 68 (63%) respondents, respectively. Majority of the participants did not consume milk (65, 60%) and meat (62, 57%) in last seven days. Prevalence of anaemia was 92% (99); 54% (58) were moderately anaemic and 38% (41) were mildly anaemic. Discussion: Prevalence of anaemia among adolescent female garment workers is extremely high. They also consume inadequate food. Immediate steps should be taken to improve nutritional status of these girls.