Prevalence and Factors Associated with Undernutrition among Exclusively Breastfeeding Women in Arba Minch Zuria District, Southern Ethiopia: A Cross-sectional Community-Based Study
BACKGROUND: In developing countries, women are generally vulnerable to undernutrition especially during lactation because of inadequate nutrient intake. The purpose of this study was to assess the prevalence of underweight, associated factors and mean dietary intake of selected nutrients among lactating women in Arba Minch Zuriya districts, Gamo Gofa, Ethiopia
METHODS: Multistage cluster sampling technique was used to select 478 exclusively breastfeeding women. Data was collected by using structured questionnaire, and weight and height measurements. Mean intake of calories, calcium, iron, zinc and vitamin A was assessed by using 24-hour recall method on subsample of 73 subjects and compared against the Ethiopian and African food composition tables. Logistic regression analysis was used to evaluate the association between various independent variables and maternal underweight.
RESULTS: The prevalence of underweight was 17.4%. Maternal underweight significantly associated with short birth to pregnancy interval, high workload burden, household food insecurity, less access to nutrition information and low level of women educational status.
CONCLUSIONS: A significant proportion of women suffered from undernutrition and the mean intake of calories, calcium and zinc were below the recommended level for lactating women. Hence, to improve nutritional status of lactating women, strategies should focus on nutrition counseling, improvement in women’s access to labour saving technologies and effective household food security interventions.