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Underweight and associated factors among lactating women in Uganda: Evidence from the Uganda demographic health survey 2016
Authors: Quraish Sserwanja, Joseph Kawuki, Linet M. Mutisya, Milton W. Musaba, Mathew Kagwisagye, Ivan Arinda Kato, and David Mukunya
Source: Health Science Reports, Volume 4, Issue 3; DOI:
Topic(s): Breastfeeding
Women's health
Country: Africa
Published: AUG 2021
Abstract: Lactating mothers are at increased risk of being underweight because of the physiological changes that lead to disproportionately higher energy and nutrient requirements compared to their non-pregnant and non-lactating counterparts. We aimed to determine the prevalence and factors associated with being underweight among lactating women in Uganda. We used the Uganda Demographic and Health Survey (UDHS) 2016 data of 1356 women aged 20 to 49?years. Multistage stratified sampling was used to select study participants. The data were collected using validated questionnaires. We used multivariable logistic regression to determine factors associated with underweight among 20 to 49-year-old lactating women in Uganda. The prevalence of underweight was 8.2% (111/1356) (95% confidence interval, [CI]: 7.0-10.0). Women who had no education were 10.21 (adjusted odds ratio, [AOR] = 10.21; 95% CI: 1.61-64.74) times as likely to be underweight as those who had higher (post-secondary) education levels. Women who were not working were 50% (AOR = 0.50; 95% CI: 0.26-0.94) less likely to be underweight compared to those who were working. Women in the Western (AOR = 0.15; 95% CI: 0.07-0.32), Eastern (AOR = 0.34; 95% CI: 0.18-0.66), and Central (AOR = 0.30; 95% CI: 0.12-0.74) regions were 85%, 66% and 70% respectively less likely to be underweight compared to those in the Northern region. Based on the findings of this and other studies, it is important for the different stakeholders to design targeted nutrition programs for lactating women particularly those with low levels of education and those from the Northern region.