The course is divided into two parts. The first part will give an outline of public health nutrition and the second part will highlight issues of the social and cultural factors affecting health conditions with special attention to nutrition in developing countries. Throughout the course, there will be extensive discussion of social, cultural, political and policy implications with special reference to Bangladesh. Emphasis will be placed on developing a nuanced understanding of the topics rather than on knowing specific facts and figures.
Topics to be covered include:
Understanding the body in relation to the larger cultural context; Understanding folk concepts of male and female life cycle- childhood, puberty, adulthood, and aging; Cultural conceptualization of disease and illness; Local beliefs of cause of illness; Conceptualizing healthcare, the discrepancies between folk approaches and biomedical approaches to the prevention and care of disease; The political economy of healthcare; Age and gender differential in health care; Case studies exploring the culture of silence; Local beliefs and context of RTIs/STDs/HIV/ AIDS, reproductive and mental health issues.
i. Richard K. Thomas: Society and Health: Sociology for Health Professionals: Springer, 2003.
ii. Benjamin: Society and Health. Oxford University Press, 1995.
Topics to be discussed in part II include:
Principles and methods of Health Education with a focus on community nutrition; Definitions and trends in nutritional indices (wasting, stunting, malnutrition etc) nationally, regionally and internationally; Discussion of different kinds of nutritional data: anthropometry, food diaries, physiologic measurements, their utility and constraints; Trends in nutritional indicators in Bangladesh, regionally and globally; Impact of nutritional status on physical and cognitive development; The cultural context of nutritional practices: e.g. weaning behavior, dietary norms and restrictions; Disparities by gender, age, and social class in nutritional indices and their socio-cultural and economic underpinnings; Relationship between food production and distribution with malnutrition. Discussion of market failures and famines; Relationship between population growth and food shortages; Policy approaches to dealing with nutritional challenges and disparities; Review of current and past nutritional policies and their effectiveness in the context of Bangladesh; Review of nutritional enrichment programs and their effectiveness in the context of Bangladesh.
i.Mark Lawrence and Tony Worsley: Public Health Nutrition: From principles to practice.
ii. Arlene, Taylor& Francis: Nutrition in Public Health: Principles, Policies, and Practice. 2007.