Assessment of Nutritional Status and Drug Abuse among Street Children of Dhaka City in Bangladesh: A Cross-Sectional Study

Khaleda Islam

Institute of Nutrition and Food Science, University of Dhaka, Dhaka-1000, Bangladesh.

Md. Ishahaque Ali

Upazila Nirbahi Officer, Govt. of The People’s Republic of Bangladesh, Bangladesh.

Israt Jahan

Department of Food Technology and Nutrition Science, Noakhali Science and Technology University, Bangladesh.

Humaira Sadia

Department of Public Health Nutrition, Primeasia University, Banani, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Eyad Ahmed *

Institute of Nutrition and Food Science, University of Dhaka, Dhaka-1000, Bangladesh.

*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.


Background: Street children are often deprived of the basic human rights in our society and hence they suffer from various forms of malnutrition and usually get addicted to different drugs.

Objective: The current study aimed to assess the nutritional status and drug abuse of the street children of Dhaka city.

Methodology: It was a descriptive cross-sectional study with randomly selected 100 street children (51 male and 49 female) aged three to fifteen years old from Dhaka city between the timeframe of January, 2016 to June, 2016. Data was collected by face-to-face interview with a pre-tested questionnaire involving their socio-economic data, nutritional status and information concerning drug abuse. Data analysis was conducted by IBM SPSS version 20.0, WHO Anthro and WHO Anthro Plus software. Various descriptive statistics like mean±SD, frequency, percentage along with binary logistic regression analysis was performed for the current study.

Results: The respondents’ mean age was 9±3 years. Majority of the street children (92%) knew about their mother’s identity whereas about 35% of them did not know about their father’s identity. Their monthly income ranged from one thousand BDT to three-thousand five hundred BDT. The study showed that about 47% of respondents were stunted, and nearly 58% were underweight. It was also found that about 82% of the respondents were drug abusers. However, about 45% were addicted to cigarette smoking and 24% were having marijuana in regular basis. Significant association was found between drug abuse and underweight status (AOR=1.27, p=.038) but no association was found between stunting rate and drug abuse of the respondents (AOR=1.03, p=.670).

Conclusion: Appropriate measures ought to be taken to enhance the nutritional status and reducing the rate of drug abuse among this segment of our population to secure a productive and healthy adult life for them in the future. Further large scale research is recommended to explore the determinants of the nutritional status and their drug abuse in Dhaka City.

Keywords: Street children, nutritional status, drug abuse, Dhaka city

How to Cite

Islam , K., Ali , M. I., Jahan , I., Sadia , H., & Ahmed , E. (2023). Assessment of Nutritional Status and Drug Abuse among Street Children of Dhaka City in Bangladesh: A Cross-Sectional Study. Asian Journal of Medicine and Health, 21(11), 1–7.


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