Determinants of undernutrition among women of reproductive age in Tanzania mainland
Objective: Developing countries, including Tanzania, are increasingly characterised by undernutrition. It is very disheartening, affecting a large proportion of the country’s population. Women in the reproductive age group are affected the most. Undernourished women are likely to face reproductive health problems, leading to maternal and infant death. Thus, studying and eliminating undernutrition risk factors in women is very important in order to avoid maternal health complications and prevent infant illness and death. Therefore, this study focused on identifying the determinant factors of undernutrition in women of reproductive age, i.e. aged 15-49 years, on the Tanzania mainland, using the data extracted from the Tanzanian Demographic and Health Survey 2010.
Subjects and setting: Six thousand, nine hundred and thirty-three eligible non-pregnant women of reproductive age were selected from urban and rural areas on the Tanzania mainland.
Design: A cross-sectional study was conducted.
Outcome measures: An anthropometric measure (body mass index) was used to determine the prevalence of undernutrition and the generalised estimating equation (GEE) was adopted to assess the impact of the proposed determinants of undernutrition.
Results: It was shown from the findings of this study that overall prevalence of undernutrition was 11%. Also, the results from the fitted GEE revealed that the effect of age, the family’s wealth index and marital status were independent significant risk factors for undernutrition. The impact of education on undernutrition was significantly associated with place of residence.
Conclusion: There was a high prevalence of undernutrition in this study, with significant differences with respect to age, wealth index and marital status. In order to improve women’s nutritional status, policies should focus on improving family wealth and education.
Keywords: BMI, GEE, OR, reproductive women, Tanzania, undernutrition