Does parental migration have any impact on nutritional disorders among left-behind children in Bangladesh?

M Mofizul Islam, Md Nuruzzaman Khan and Md Nazrul Islam Mondal - Public Health Nutrition


Rates of migration have increased substantially in recent years and so has the number of left-behind children (LBC). We investigated the impact of parental migration on nutritional disorders of LBC in Bangladesh.


We analysed data from the nationally representative cross-sectional Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 2012–2013. Child stunting, wasting and underweight were used as measures of nutritional disorders. Descriptive statistics were used to describe characteristics of the respondents and to compare nutritional outcomes based on status of parental migration. Multivariate logistic regression models were used to examine the associations between parental migration and child nutritional disorders.




Data of 23 402 children (aged <5 years), their parents and households.


In the unadjusted models, parental migration was found significantly protective for stunting, wasting and underweight – both separately and jointly. After potential confounders were controlled for, no difference was found between LBC and non-LBC in any of these three nutritional outcome measures. Household wealth status and maternal educational status were found to significantly influence the nutritional development of the children.


At the population level there is no negative impact of parental migration on stunting, wasting and underweight of LBC in Bangladesh. Remittance from parental migration might enhance affordability of better foods, health care and supplies for a cleaner environment. This affordability is crucial for the poorest section of the society.