Household Food Insecurity, Underweight Status and Associated Characteristics among Women of Reproductive age Group in Aysaita district, Affar Regional State, Ethiopia

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Addis Ababa University


Background: Ethiopia has experienced rapid, sustained improvement in undernutrition during the past 15 years. However, undernutrition among children and women remains an urgent concern, requiring greater multi-sectoral efforts. Poor nutritional status of children and women has been a serious problem in Ethiopia for many years. Rural women are more likely to be undernourished than urban women, and those residing in the Affar region are the most likely to be undernourished (43.5%) of any region. Objective: To assess the prevalence and identify risk factors associated with both household food insecurity and underweight status among women in the reproductive age (15–49 years of age) group, in Aysaita district of Affar regional state, eastern Ethiopia. Method and Materials: A community based cross-sectional study was conducted among nonpregnant women on May 2015. The Household-Food-Insecurity-Access-Scale (HFIAS) classified food insecurity and anthropometric data classified underweight. Further survey questions assessed dietary diversity and socio-demographics. Multiple binary regression models was used to quantify the association between household food security and nutritional outcomes among women of reproductive age, while accounting for other covariates potentially associated with the outcome variables of interest. Results: the mean Household Food Insecurity Access Scores (HFIAS) were 7.0 (3.6 ±SD), out of 27 classifying 26.1% as mild, 30.2% as moderate and 14.1% as having severe food insecurity. Underweight prevalence (BMI <18.5) was 41% among non-pregnant participants (n=490), with frequencies of mild, moderate and severe underweight of 34.5%, 3.9% and 2.7% respectively. Multiple logistic regression predicting underweight (vs. non-underweight) found that participants with moderately food insecure were more than 2 times odds of being underweight compared with those food secure(AOR=2.66, 95% CI; 1.27, 5.58), while severely food insecure were more than 6 times odds of being underweight compared with those food secure (OR 6.99, 95% CI; 2.66 to 18.38). Women with ≥2 under five years old children had more than 9 times odds of being underweight compared with those who had no (OR 9.27, 95% CI; 3.35, 25.59). Conclusion: High levels of underweight were associated with women’s age, categorized HFIAS food insecurity, marital status, parity, vocation and increasing number of <5 y of children. The factors with strongest effect for household food insecurity were education, parity, vocation and having ≥2 under five children in a family.



Household Food Insecurity, Underweight Status