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Correlates and inequality of underweight and overweight among women of reproductive age: Evidence from the 2016 Nepal Demographic Health Survey
Authors: Anjana Rai, Swadesh Gurung, Subash Thapa, and Naomi M. Saville
Source: PLOS ONE , 14(5): e0216644; DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0216644
Topic(s): Inequality
Women's health
Country: Asia
Published: MAY 2019
Abstract: Introduction Understanding socio-economic correlates and inequality of underweight and overweight is crucial to develop interventions to prevent adverse health outcomes. Materials and methods We analysed Nepal Demographic and Health Survey 2016 data from 6,069 women aged 15–49 years. WHO cut-offs for Body Mass Index categorised as: underweight (<18.5 kg/m2), normal weight (18.5kg/m2 to 24.9kg/m2) and overweight/ obesity (> = 25.0 kg/m2) were used. We used multinomial logistic regression to explore associations of factors with Body Mass Index and concentration indices to estimate socio-economic inequalities. Results Higher risk of underweight was found in age group 15–19 (RRR 3.08, 95% CI: 2.29–4.15), 20–29 (RRR 1.64, 95% CI: 1.29–2.08) and in lowest (RRR 1.60, 95% CI: 1.03–2.47) and second wealth quintiles (RRR 1.77 (95% CI: 1.18–2.64). Education, occupation, urban/rural residence and food security were not associated with underweight (p>0.05). Lower risk of overweight/obesity was found in age group 15–19 (RRR 0.07, 95% CI: 0.05–0.10), 20–29 (RRR 0.40, 95% CI: 0.32–0.51), in manual occupation (RRR 0.58, 95% CI: 0.46–0.74) and in lower quintiles. Women with primary (RRR 1.91, 95% CI: 1.36–2.67), secondary education (RRR 1.42, 95% CI 1.00, 2.01) were at increased risk of overweight/obesity. Household food security and urban/rural residence were not associated with overweight/obesity (p>0.05). Socioeconomic inequalities were detected, with overweight/obesity strongly concentrated (concentration index: 0.380) amongst the higher quintiles and underweight concentrated (concentration index: -0.052) amongst the poorest. Conclusion Nutrition programmes should target younger and poor women to address undernutrition and higher wealth group women to address overnutrition. Equity based nutrition interventions improving socio-economic status of poor households may benefit undernourished women. Interventions to encourage physical activity as women age and among wealthier women as well as healthy eating for prevention of under- and over-nutrition are needed.