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

Rasheda Khanam, Anne 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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