Prevalence of under weight and associated factors for underweight among married women of age 15-49 years in Distric Ghizer Northern Pakistan

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Epidemiology & Biostatistics (MSc Epidemiology & Biostats)


Community Health Sciences


Underweight is one of the most important health and nutritional problems prevalent in the developing countries. This condition contributes 25.4 % of global Disability- Adjusted Life Years (DALY's), and 60Yo of South Asian women are considered to be underweight. In Pakistan 44 7o of women between 15-24 and 30 % women of 25-44 years of ages are estimated to be underweight. Maternal under-nutrition is a condition often found to be associated with onset of infectious diseases among the mothers and their newborns and chronic conditions during later stages of lives in these newborns. Efforts focused towards improving women's health could help in breaking this transgenerational effect of under-nutrition. With this focus we aimed to estimate the prevalence and determine the associated factors for being underweight [body mass index (BMD < 18.5 kd^'l among married women of age 15-49 years in district Ghizer, Pakistan. A cross-sectional design to meet the above mentioned objectives was conducted during July 2002 to September 2002. Data was collected from 990, non-lactating, non-pregnant married women of reproductive age (1549 years) living in tehsil Yasin and Punial of district Ghizer. Sampling was done by employing a simplified method of cluster-sample surveys devised for health research in developing countries. A structured, field-tested questionnaire was administered through face to face interviews and anthropometrical measurements were taken after the interview process. Twenty six percent of the women [estimated prevalence (p): 25.9;95% confidence interval (95% Cl): 23.t8-28.62] were found to be underweight in this study. Being a house wife [adjusted odds ratio (aOR): 3.33; 95o/o CI: 1.51-7.36], workload of > 8 weighted unit hours (aOR: I .38; 95% CI: I .01-l .88), current snuff user (aOR: 2.4;95%o CI:I.294.42), number of unsuccessful pregnancies (aOR:l.13; 95Yo CI l.OL-1.27) and currently having dysphagia (aOR: I-76; 95% CI: 1.16 - 2.68) were the factors found to be associated with underweight condition among the study participants. Awareness among communities and concerned government sectors, about the detrimental effects of snuff use and excessive workload with inadequate dietary intake needs to be promoted through effective utilization of existing health care systems and media, which are known to be pervasive in specific populations. Increase in number of unsuccessful pregnancies was found to be associated with underweight condition among women and those who have an unsuccessful pregnancy should be educated to delay the next pregnancy to avoid higher risk of a subsequent unsuccessful pregnancy based on the poorer nutritional status of women since repeated pregnancies may demand higher energy intake. Furthermore current dysphagia is a condition which needs to be further researched, to find its association with underweight and poorer nutritional status and to find what might be the factors that are responsible for the high prevalence of this condition in the studied and similar populations. vl

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