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Food insecurity and low access to high-quality food for preconception women in Nepal: the importance of household relationships.

  • Author(s): Diamond-Smith, Nadia;
  • Shieh, Jacqueline;
  • Puri, Mahesh;
  • Weiser, Sheri
  • et al.
Abstract

Objective

Women in South Asia, including Nepal, have some of the poorest nutritional indicators globally, leading to poor maternal and child health outcomes. Nepal also suffers from high levels of household food insecurity, and newly married women are at high risk. Intra-household relationships may mediate the relationship between food insecurity and women's nutrition in Nepal for newly married women. Our aim is to understand how newly married, preconception, women's food consumption changes when she enters her husband's home, compared with her natal home. We also explore whether relationship quality with husbands and mothers-in-law mediates the association between food insecurity and eating less high-quality food, using structural equation modelling.

Design

Cross-sectional survey data.

Setting

Rural Nepal in 2018.

Participants

Data were collected from 200 newly married, preconception women.

Results

Women had poor diet quality, and most ate fewer high-quality foods important for pregnancy in their marital, compared with natal, home. Higher quality relationships with mothers-in-laws mediated the association between food insecurity and a woman eating fewer high-quality foods in her marital, compared with natal, home. Relationship quality with husbands was not associated with changes in food consumption.

Conclusions

Preconception, newly married women in Nepal are eating less high-quality foods important for women's health during the preconception period - a key period for avoiding adverse maternal and infant health outcomes. Relationships with mothers-in-law are key to women's access to high-quality food, suggesting that interventions aiming to improve maternal and child nutrition should target all household members.

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