|Women empowerment and minimum daily meal frequency among infants and young children in Ghana: analysis of Ghana demographic and health survey|
||Louis Kobina Dadzie, Joshua Amo-Adjei, and Kobina Esia-Donkoh
||BMC Public Health, Volume 21, Article number: 1700; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-021-11753-1
||Background: The nutritional quality of food has an important impact on the health and well-being of families, especially children whose bodies need to grow, develop and reach their full physical and mental potential. Traditionally, women in Ghana provide care and nourishment for their children and families if they have the means to do so or if they are financially, legally and socially empowered. Women’s empowerment is not only important for women’s human rights, but also improves nutrition and health outcomes of both mothers and their children. Women’s empowerment is concerned with increasing ability to make strategic life choices in situations where the ability was hitherto denied. This study sought to investigate the association between women’s empowerment and minimum daily meal frequency (minimum number of meals to be consumed in a day) in Ghana.
Methods: The study used data from the 2014 Ghana Demographic and Health Survey (GDHS). A sample of 1640 mother-child dyad was used. Mothers ages ranged from 15 to 49 while children’s ages ranged from 6 to 23 months. Univariate and multiple linear regression techniques were applied to identify women empowerment (economic, socio-familial and legal) and sociodemographic factors associated with minimum daily meal frequency scores. Data was analyzed by the STATA statistical package software version 13.0. Statistical significance level was set at P < 0.10.
Results: Data from decisions on large household purchases (ß = 0.351, p < 0.01) family visits (ß = 0.743, p < 0.01), home ownership (ß = -0.245, p < 0.10), age of child (ß = 1.387, p < 0.01), mother’s educational attainment (ß = 0.496, p < 0.10) and place of residence (ß = -0.298, p < 0.10) showed significant positive association with minimum daily meal frequency in Ghana.
Conclusion: Minimum daily meal frequency was largely influenced by economic and socio-familial factors that contribute to empowerment of women. as decisions on large household purchases and family visits showed significant positive association with minimum daily meal frequency. Interventional programs should target households and mothers with lower socio-demographic characteristics such as lower educational levels and low economic status to improve minimal daily meal frequency in their children thereby ensuring better child health and well-being.