Food habits among the arsenic exposed population in the rural areas of Nepal and Bangladesh

Saroj Chandra Neupane, Kazi Rumana Ahmed, M. H. Faruquee, Rabeya Yasmin, Shanta Dutta, Masakazu Tani, S. K. Akhtar Ahmad

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Arsenicosis, the illness due to chronic arsenic toxicity is prevalent in both Nepal and Bangladesh. The occurrence of arsenicosis depends upon many factors including food and nutrition. The objective of this study was to find out any difference of food habits among the arsenic exposed households of both countries and the relationship with the occurrence of arsenicosis. This was a cross-sectional comparative study, conducted among the arsenic exposed rural households of Nawalparasi district in Nepal and Faridpur district in Bangladesh. A total of 190 and 200 female rural households from Nepal and Bangladesh were selected respectively as the respondents. The majority of the respondents of both countries were under the age of 40 years. The prevalence of arsenicosis was found significantly low (Χ2 = 8.847; p=.002) among the Nepalese households (7.3%) than that of Bangladeshi households (11.0%). As a staple food, rice, vegetables and pulses were more common among the Nepalese households in comparison to that of Bangladesh (Χ2=5.739; p=.017). In addition to staple food Nepalese households were found to take significantly more (p < .05) bread (74.7%), egg (73.2%), milk (68.9%) and fruits (58.4%). In contrast, Bangladeshi households took a little more meat (59.0%) and fish (73.5%). To get arsenic-safe water, 39.5% Bangladeshi households used a filter while a few Nepalese households (2.6%) used that. Nepalese households were found to take more protein and vitamins rich foods as staple food compared to that of Bangladeshi households, which might play a role in the low occurrence of arsenicosis amongst them.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-54
Number of pages7
JournalMalaysian Journal of Public Health Medicine
Issue numberSpecialissue1
Publication statusPublished - 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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