Malnutrition is a global concern that affects everyone at some point in their lives. Everyone is affected by this public health crisis, but the poor are especially vulnerable. Around two billion people are affected by malnutrition worldwide (ICDDRB, 2020).
Malnutrition includes both under-nutrition and over-nutrition. Under-nourished people are facing wasting, stunting, underweight, and mineral as well as vitamin-related malnutrition. On the other hand, over-nourished people are facing overweight, obesity, and diet-related non-communicable diseases problem (Natisha Dukhi, 2020). According to World Health Organization (WHO) report 2020, the under-nourished population is most prone to infectious or communicable diseases due to vitamin deficiency. Under-nutrition is responsible for 45% of deaths in children under the age of five. Over half of the population of Bangladesh is suffering from under-nutrition. Severe acute malnutrition affects 450,000 children, while close to 2 million children have moderate acute malnutrition (ICDDRB, 2020). On the other hand, more than 50% of women suffer from chronic energy deficiency in Bangladesh. Micronutrient deficiencies, particularly iron, iodine, and zinc deficiency, are also common among children of our country (FAO, 2020). A nutritious, well-balanced diet may be the only effective treatment for malnutrition. Biofortification can help in this manner by producing nutrition-rich economic food. The process of biofortification is purposely increasing the content of an important micronutrient such as vitamins and minerals in food, to proliferate the nutritional quality of the food supply and provide a public health benefit with minimal risk to health. Agronomic methods, traditional plant breeding, or modern biotechnology are used to improve the nutritional quality of food crops in this process. This process varies from traditional fortification in that it seeks to raise nutrient levels in crops during plant growth rather than during crop processing. Many biofortification projects are currently underway to boost the nutritional value of various staple crops in order to meet the essential nutrition for the world's increasing population. Cereal crops like rice, wheat, maize, etc. are mainly targeted for biofortification as they are consumed as a staple food. And it could be a feasible and cost-effective way of providing micronutrients to communities that may lack access to a diverse diet or other micronutrient interventions
References/Data Sources:
• Dukhi, N., 2020. Global prevalence of malnutrition: evidence from literature. In Malnutrition. IntechOpen.