Influence of women's empowerment on child nutritional status in Bihar, India Open Access

Wang, Yu (2013)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/hh63sw64g?locale=en
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Abstract

Increasing evidence indicates that maternal empowerment may be an important determinant of child nutritional status. However, little is known about this relationship in Bihar, India. This study is designed to examine the relationship between women's empowerment, represented by single and summary indicators, and child nutritional status in Bihar. Cross-sectional data from the National Family Health Survey 2005-2006 are used for the analysis. Women's empowerment is measured in five dimensions: decision making autonomy, freedom of mobility, tolerance of abuse and attitude towards domestic violence, maternal employment, and husband-wife differences in age/education. Polychoric Principle Component Analysis and factor analysis are employed to generate summary indicators or factor scores Nutritional status among children under five are measured by dichotomous variables as stunting, wasting, and underweight, and continuous variables as height-for-age, weight-for-height, and weight-for-age Z-scores. Logistic and linear regression models are built to test associations between women's empowerment and child nutritional status. After adjusting for the social context, household socio-economic status, and maternal and child characteristics, women with higher power {have jointly say in own cash income with husbands [OR=0.6, 95% CI (0.3, 0.9)]; allowed to go to health facility with someone else [OR=0.6, 95% CI (0.3, 1.0)]; employed during past year [OR=0.7, 95% CI (0.5, 1.0)]} are significantly less likely to have wasted children. Parents with greater age differences are more likely to have stunted children [OR=1.03, 95% CI (1.00, 1.05)]. However, opposite effects are also found; women with higher power {have jointly say in daily household purchases [OR=1.3, 95% CI (1.0, 1.7)]; allowed to go to the market alone [OR=1.4, 95% CI (1.1, 2.0)]; think it is unjustified to be beaten by their husbands if they don't cook properly [OR=1.4, 95% CI (1.0, 1.9)]} are more likely to have wasted children. Little of the variances in child nutritional status Z-scores is explained by the five summary indicators or factor scores that were generated. Thus, in this population, the results do not support the hypothesis that maternal empowerment is an important determinant of child nutritional status. Further surveys with more sensitive and detailed questions are needed to measure women's empowerment, and further research uncovering the pathways between women's empowerment and child nutritional status is necessary.

Table of Contents

Figure 1: Conceptual framework of this research project (Page 16)

Figure 2: Process of sample selection (Page 22)

Table 1: Baseline characteristics of mothers, children, and household in Bihar, India, NFHS-3 survey data, 2005-2006 (Page 31)

Table 2: Distribution of maternal empowerment indicators in Bihar, India, NFHS-3 survey data, 2005-2006, n=1357 (Page 34)

Table 3 Association between baseline characteristics and child nutritional status in Bihar, India, NFHS-3 survey data, 2005-2006, n=1920 (Page 37)

Table 4 Association between indicators of mothers' decision-making autonomy and nutritional status of children under five in Bihar, India, NFHS-3 survey data, 2005-2006, n=1920 (Page 42)

Table 5 Association between indicators of mothers' freedom of mobility and nutritional status of children under five in Bihar, India, NFHS-3 survey data, 2005-2006, n=1920 (Page 43)

Table 6 Association between indicators of mothers' tolerance of abuse & attitude towards domestic violence and nutritional status of children under five in Bihar, India, NFHS-3 survey data, 2005-2006, n=1920 (Page 44)

Table 7 Association between indicators of mothers' employment and husband-wife differences and child nutritional status of children under five in Bihar, India, NFHS-3 survey data, 2005-2006, n=1920 (Page 45)

Table 8 Eigenvalues and variance explained of all five factors retained (Page 46)

Table 9 Results of linear relationship between height-for-age, weight-for-height, and weight-for-age Z-scores, and reduced indicators of women's empowerment; and logistic relationship between stunting, wasting, and underweight, and reduced indicators of women's empowerment (Page 49)


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