Protein and amino acid intakes in a rural area of Bangladesh

Julia E. Heck, Jeri W. Nieves, Yu Chen, Fanique Parvez, Paul W. Brandt-Rauf, Geoffrey R. Howe, Habibul Ahsan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background. Few studies have described protein and amino acid intakes in rural Bangladesh, a country with considerable undernutrition. Objective. The purpose of this population-based study was to assess and describe protein and amino acid intakes in Araihazar, Bangladesh. Methods. The study participants were 11,170 adult men and women who participated in the Health Effects of Arsenic Longitudinal Study (HEALS), which had a 98% participation rate. Dietary exposures were assessed by a food-frequency questionnaire that had been designed and validated for the HEALS study population. Results. The mean body mass index (BMI) was 19.7 among all participants, and 34.9% of women and 44.4% of men had a BMI below 18.5. The average caloric intake was 2,142 and 2,394 kcal/day among women and men, respectively, and the mean protein intake was 67.5 and 78.2 gl day. The largest sources of protein were from rice and fish. Greater protein intake was related to younger age and several socioeconomic measures, including more years of education, land and television ownership, and employment in business, farming or as a laborer (for men) or as a homemaker (for women). Conclusions. This study found a high prevalence of underweight among study participants. Nonetheless, most participants had adequate protein intake according to Food and Agriculture Organization standards for body weight.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)206-213
Number of pages8
JournalFood and Nutrition Bulletin
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2010


  • Amino acids
  • Bangladesh
  • Body mass index
  • Dietary proteins
  • Protein-energy malnutrition
  • Socioeconomic status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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