Dual Burden of Underweight and Overweight among Women in Bangladesh: Patterns, Prevalence, and Sociodemographic Correlates

Dual Burden of Underweight and Overweight among Women in Bangladesh: Patterns, Prevalence, and Sociodemographic Correlates

The discourse of dual burden caused through underweight and overweight is well-documented globally but this issue and its connection with women’s health in Bangladesh is yet to be explored widely. To enrich the current debate, this study, in the context of Bangladesh, examines the patterns, prevalence, and socioeconomic factors influencing the ever-married women of being underweight and overweight over normal weight. Dataused in this study have been extracted from the most recent 2011 Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey. To achieve results connected with the research objectives, both bivariate and multivariate statistical analyseshave been employed. In bivariate analysis, we used seven categories of BMI cutoff points for Asian countries as prescribed by World Health Organization (WHO). Multinomial logistic regression model was constructed to investigate the net effect of socioeconomic factors on underweight, pre-overweight, and overweight over normalweight. The results confirm the co-existence of underweight and overweight among women as we found the prevalence of underweight, normal weight, pre-overweight, overweight, and obesity to be 24.1%, 46.7%,12.8%, 13.5%, and 2.9% respectively. Compared to the richest, the women from the poorest households were significantly (p<0.001) most likely to be underweight (OR=2.75, 95% CI 2.27-3.35) and least likely to be overweight (OR=0.15, 95% CI 0.12-0.19) over normal weight. The urban women, compared to their rural counterparts, were significantly (p<0.001) less likely to be underweight (OR=0.80, 95% CI 0.71-0.91) and more likely to be overweight (OR=1.33, 95% CI 1.18-1.51) than normal weight. The other socioeconomic grades that weremost marked to be underweight and overweight are age, women’s education, marital status, age at first childbirth,parity, number of children aged ≤5 years at the household, and food security. The findings confirm the dual burden of both under- and overweight. Systematic and regular monitoring and surveillance of the social trajectory of nutritional status of women and men in Bangladesh is crucial to develop apposite strategy that addresses the persistent and chronic problem of underweight and the emerging problem of overweight. The dual existence of both types of malnutrition among women in Bangladesh must be taken into considerationso that public health interventions may be adopted through appropriate policy.