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Food insecurity among women of reproductive age in Nepal: prevalence and correlates
Authors: Shanta Pandey, and Vincent Fusaro
Source: BMC Public Health, 20(175); DOI: 10.1186/s12889-020-8298-4
Topic(s): Ethnicity
Food insecurity
Reproductive health
Country: Asia
Published: FEB 2020
Abstract: Background Food insecurity is widely prevalent in certain sections of society in low and middle-income countries. The United Nations has challenged all member countries to eliminate hunger for all people by 2030. This study examines the prevalence and correlates of household food insecurity among women, especially Dalit women of reproductive age in Nepal. Methods Data came from 2016 Nepal Demographic Health Survey, a cross-sectional, nationally representative survey that included 12,862 women between 15 and 49?years of age of which 12% were Dalit. Descriptive analysis was used to assess the prevalence of household food insecurity while logistic regression examined the relationship between women’s ethnicity and the risk of food insecurity after accounting for demographic, economic, cultural, and geo-ecological characteristics. Results About 56% of all women and 76% of Dalit women had experienced food insecurity. Ethnicity is strongly related to food insecurity. Dalit women were most likely to be food insecure, even after accounting for factors such as education and wealth. They were 82, 85, 89 and 92% more vulnerable to food insecurity than Muslims, Brahmin/Chhetri, Terai Indigenous, and Hill Indigenous populations, respectively. Education was a protective factor—women with secondary education (6th to 10th grade) were 39% less likely to be food insecure compared to their counterparts without education. With a more than 10th grade education, women were 2.27 times more likely to be food secure compared to their counterparts without education. Marriage was also protective. Economically, household wealth is inversely correlated with food insecurity. Finally, residence in the Mid-Western, Far-Western and Central Development regions was correlated with food insecurity. Conclusion To reduce food insecurity in Nepal, interventions should focus on improving women’s education and wealth, especially among Dalit and those residing in the Far- and Mid-Western regions.