There is nothing like fish

If fish would be removed from peoples’ diet in Bangladesh, nothing else could replace that valuable nutrient-rich food. 70% of the Bangladeshi population is eating fish 7 to 14 times within two weeks. Studies prove the positive impact of small fish species on an improved dietary diversity. Moreover, the most important aspect of fish in terms of nutrition is that fish enhances the uptake of micronutrients from food eaten in the same meal. Not to forget, that consumers like the flavour and the added taste of fish to their meal. Difference in nutrient content between small and large fish species Biggest differences are found in the content of Vitamin A and Calcium. In contrary to cultured large fishes, small indigenous fish species are consumed whole, including the bones and head of the fishes which are rich in micronutrients. The calcium content in small indigenous fish species is high and has apparently a similar bioavailability as milk has. Breakout session 3_Shakuntala Thilsted.docx Shakuntala Thilsted, Senior Nutrition Scientist, WorldFish about "The role of fish for nutrition and health" Case study from Bangladesh in Breakout session 3: Diet Diversification Compulsory “Inter-fishing” The Bangladeshi government has decided that all ponds have to be a combination with large and small fishes. Because each species has different ecological niches, they do not compete with each other for resources. Moreover, what you actually get is an increased fish production (compared to positive synergies in plant-intercropping). Before fish producers would clean and prepare the pond after harvesting to prepare the pond for the new stock and with that kill all the small remaining fishes. Now this practice is prohibited by the Government. Increased fish production alone is insufficient… … for improved nutrition and health. What is needed is also a behaviour change. Introducing fish to children’s diets after 24months is considered already a very late stage. However, apparently it is difficult to start the introduction of fish earlier. Thus how can you get fish into the complementary food of children? Another open and interesting question is how much fish would be needed to be eaten by a person in a meal to take up the necessary amount of iron from rice in the same meal. Which minimum amount of fish would actually be needed in a diet? Furthermore, the presenter wonders why we have food prices only in terms of quantity and not in terms of nutrient content.


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