Levels and correlates of nutritional status of women of childbearing age in rural Bangladesh

Rasheda Khanam, Anne Shee C.C. Lee, Malathi Ram, Ma Quaiyum, Nazma Begum, Allysha Choudhury, Parul Christian, Luke C. Mullany, Abdullah H. Baqui

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Objective The present study examined the prevalence of and risk factors for malnutrition in a population-based cohort of women of childbearing age in rural Bangladesh.Design A cross-sectional study that collected pre-pregnancy weight, height, and data on selected risk factors for nutritional status of women.Setting The study was conducted in Sylhet District of Bangladesh.Subjects Study subjects included 13 230 non-pregnant women of childbearing age. Women were classified into underweight (<18·5 kg/m2), normal (18·5-24·9 kg/m2) and overweight/obese (≥25·0 kg/m2) using BMI; and into moderate to severe stunting (<150 cm), mild stunting (150-<155 cm) and normal (≥155 cm) using height. Two multinomial logistic regression models were fitted for BMI: model 1 examined individual and household factors associated with BMI, and model 2 additionally examined the association of community variables. The same analysis was conducted for height.Results Prevalence of underweight, overweight/obesity and moderate to severe stunting was 37·0, 7·2 and 48·6 %, respectively. Women's education and household wealth were inversely related to both underweight status and stunting. Underweight rate was significantly lower in the post-harvest season. Women with any education and who belonged to households with higher wealth were more likely to be overweight/obese.Conclusions The study documented high underweight and stunting, and moderate overweight/obesity rates among rural Bangladeshi women; and recommends design and implementation of a multidimensional intervention programme based on individual-, household- and community-level risk factors that can address underweight, stunting and overweight/obesity to improve the nutritional status of women of childbearing age in Bangladesh.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3037-3047
Number of pages11
JournalPublic health nutrition
Issue number16
StatePublished - Nov 1 2018


  • BMI
  • Bangladesh
  • Nutrition
  • Overweight/obese
  • Underweight
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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