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Nutritional assessment of dalit mothers and its determinants

Author: 
Dr. Kafle, T. K. and Kafle, Tika K.
Subject Area: 
Health Sciences
Abstract: 

Background: The nutritional needs of every women increase during pregnancy and lactation, if the requirements are not met, it affects mothers’ own health, birth outcome as well as infant health and the consequences can be serious for women and their infants. The overall nutritional status of pregnant and lactating women is poor in Nepal. Couple of evidences have shown that the nutritional status of Dalit mothers is significantly poorer than the Non-Dalits since history as a result of Dalit women’s exclusion in socio-economic and political dimensions. Still there is lack of studies which explores the nutritional status and its determinants related to Dalit mothers. Objective: To assess and compare the nutritional status of Dalit mothers with Non-Dalit mothers and explore its determinants. Methods: A cross sectional analytical study was conducted in Eastern Terai ecological sub-belt of Nepal during July to December 2011 among 720 Dalit and Non-dalit mothers having under five years children. To assess the nutritional status of mothers, the height, MUAC and Body Mass Index (BMI) were obtained and compared. Chi-square, t- test and Logistic Regression Analysis were used to analyse the result. Results: The mean height of the study mothers was 151.2 cm with SD 5.4cm and the mean BMI was observed 19.5 with SD 2.6. Moreover, 15.8 percent Dalit mothers had short height (<145cm), 25.8 percent had thin MUAC (<21.0 cm) and 43.7 percent had low BMI (<18.5) in compared to only 8.1 percent short height, 15 percent thin MUAC and 33.3 percent low BMI among Non-dalit mothers respectively. All three indicators of Dalit mothers were significantly poorer than Non-dalit mothers (p<0.001). The age and wealth index was found significant determinants for height, wealth index and age at marriage for MUAC and education, decision-making capacity and numbers of CEB were found as the key determinants for Body Mass Index (BMI). Conclusion: Nearly half (43.7%) of Dalit mothers were observed with low BMI and one in every six (15.8) mothers had short height. Dalit mothers had significantly poor nutritional status than Non-dalit mothers (p<0.001) in both indicators.

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