Publications Summary

Document Type
Working Papers
Publication Topic(s)
Child Health and Development, Gender, Nutrition
Recommended Citation
Sey-Sawo, Jainaba, Francis Sarr, and Haddy Tunkara Bah, 2022. Women’s Empowerment and Nutritional Status of Children in The Gambia: Further Analysis of the 2019–20 Demographic and Health Survey. DHS Working Papers No. 184. Rockville, Maryland, USA: ICF.
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Publication Date
September 2022
Publication ID

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Empowering women and promoting children’s health are key components of the Sustainable Development Goals targeted for achievement by 2030. The survival of young children, which depends on their nutrition, is influenced by an interaction of factors at the household level. This study aims to investigate the association between women’s empowerment and undernutrition among children under age 5 using The Gambia Demographic Health Survey (GDHS) 2019–20. Children’s undernutrition was measured with two indicators—stunting and underweight. The women’s empowerment indicators were educational status, employment, decision making, age at first sex and birth, and acceptance of wife beating. StataSE software Version 17 was used for data analysis. Analyses were cluster-adjusted and sample-weighted, with confounding/moderating variables. Descriptive statistics and cross- tabulations were computed for all variables. Bivariate and multivariate analysis of the outcomes and women’s empowerment were conducted. The prevalence of stunting and underweight among the children under age 5 was 17% and 12%, respectively. The results of the multiple logistic regression show that women with no education had 51% (OR = 1.51; 95% CI = 1.11–2.07; p = .009), and 52% (OR = 1.52; 95% CI = 1.06–2.14; p = .022) greater odds of having children under age 5 who were stunted or underweight compared to those women with primary and higher level of education, respectively. Mothers with a body mass index classified as thin were associated with an increased odds of having stunted (OR = 1.44; 95% CI = 1.01–2.05; p = .033) and underweight (OR = 1.69; 95% CI = 1.58–3.52; p < .001) children. In addition, women who reported accepting wife beating had 69% (OR = 1.69; 95% CI = 1.22–2.35; p = .002) and 66% (OR = 1.66; 95% CI = 1.15–2.40; p = .006) greater odds of having stunted and underweight children respectively, compared to those who did not accept wife beating. Similarly, women from households with a wealth index classified as poor had 69% (OR = 1.69; 95% CI = 1.03–2.80; p = .038) and 83% % (OR = 1.83; 95% CI = 1.18–2.83; p = .007) greater odds of having underweight and stunting children compared to those from households with middle or rich wealth index. Having a household wealth index classified as middle income was also significantly associated (OR = 1.79; 95% CI = 1.13–2.86; p = .0148) with having stunted children, compared to those with wealth index classified as rich. The study results suggest that improving women empowerment has the potential to decrease undernutrition among children in The Gambia.


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