Orphan/vulnerable child caregiving moderates the association between women’s autonomy and their BMI in three African countries
Published Date:Jun 03 2014
Source:AIDS Care. 26(11):1336-1345.
Africa South Of The Sahara
Body Mass Index
Pubmed Central ID:PMC4122641
Funding:1 U48 DP001929/DP/NCCDPHP CDC HHS/United States
P20 MD002288/MD/NIMHD NIH HHS/United States
P20MD002288/MD/NIMHD NIH HHS/United States
R24 HD041041/HD/NICHD NIH HHS/United States
Description:Enhancement of women's autonomy is a key factor for improving women's health and nutrition. With nearly 12 million orphan and vulnerable children (OVC) in Africa due to HIV/AIDS, the study of OVC primary caregivers' nutrition is fundamental. We investigated the association between married women's autonomy and their nutritional status; explored whether this relationship was modified by OVC primary caregiving; and analyzed whether decision-making autonomy mediated the association between household wealth and body mass index (BMI). This cross-sectional study used the data from Demographic Health Surveys collected during 2006-2007 from 20- to 49-year-old women in Namibia (n = 2633), Swaziland (n = 1395), and Zambia (n = 2920). Analyses included logistic regression, Sobel, and Goodman tests. Our results indicated that women's educational attainment increased the odds for being overweight (Swaziland and Zambia) and decreased the odds for being underweight (Namibia). In Zambia, having at least primary education increased the odds for being overweight only among child primary caregivers regardless of the OVC status of the child, and having autonomy for buying everyday household items increased the odds for being overweight only among OVC primary caregivers. Decision-making autonomy mediated the association between household wealth and OVC primary caregivers' BMI in Zambia (Z = 2.13, p value = 0.03). We concluded that depending on each country's contextual characteristics, having education can decrease the odds for being an underweight woman or increase the odds for being an overweight woman. Further studies should explore why in Namibia education has an effect on women's overweight status only among women who are caring for a child.
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