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Paradoxical malnutrition in mother-child pairs: Untangling the phenomenon of over- and under-nutrition in underdeveloped economies

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  • Jehn, Megan
  • Brewis, Alexandra

Abstract

As economic development and urbanization proceed globally, the coexistence of under- and over-nutrition within the same household, sometimes termed [`]paradoxical' or [`]dual burden' malnutrition is increasingly being reported. We used Demographic and Health Survey data sets from 18 lower and middle income countries to explore paradoxical forms of malnutrition (maternal overweight with child underweight or stunting) in mother-child pairs. Multinomial logistic regression was used to estimate the odds of discordant pairs after adjusting for a number of important covariates. Several factors were significantly associated with an increased relative odds of discordant mother-child pairs, including working in subsistence agriculture, low levels of maternal education, more siblings in the household, and relative household poverty. However, many of these factors also predicted other combinations of poor nutritional status in mother-child pairs. We conclude that it is difficult to identify any specific factors that elevate risk above and beyond those that predict risk of maternal over-nutrition or child under-nutrition. Based on these analyses, it appears that paradoxical weight status between mothers and children can be best understood as a consequence of rapid secular increases in maternal weight, rather than a distinct nutritional condition with a discrete etiology.

Suggested Citation

  • Jehn, Megan & Brewis, Alexandra, 2009. "Paradoxical malnutrition in mother-child pairs: Untangling the phenomenon of over- and under-nutrition in underdeveloped economies," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 28-35, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:7:y:2009:i:1:p:28-35
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Garrett, James L. & Ruel, Marie T., 2003. "Stunted child - overweight mother pairs," FCND discussion papers 148, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    2. repec:aph:ajpbhl:2004:94:3:433-434_5 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Deon Filmer & Lant Pritchett, 2001. "Estimating Wealth Effects Without Expenditure Data—Or Tears: An Application To Educational Enrollments In States Of India," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 38(1), pages 115-132, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Lee, Jounghee & Houser, Robert F. & Must, Aviva & de Fulladolsa, Patricia Palma & Bermudez, Odilia I., 2010. "Disentangling nutritional factors and household characteristics related to child stunting and maternal overweight in Guatemala," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 188-196, July.
    2. Custodio, Estefanía & Descalzo, Miguel Ángel & Roche, Jesús & Molina, Laura & Sánchez, Ignacio & Lwanga, Magdalena & Torres, Alberto Manuel & Fernández-Zincke, Eduardo & Bernis, Cristina & Villamor, E, 2010. "The economic and nutrition transition in Equatorial Guinea coincided with a double burden of over- and under nutrition," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 80-87, March.
    3. Zeljko, Hrvojka Marija & Škarić-Jurić, Tatjana & Narančić, Nina Smolej & Barešić, Ana & Tomas, Željka & Petranović, Matea Zajc & Miličić, Jasna & Salihović, Marijana Peričić & Janićijević, Branka, 2013. "Age trends in prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors in Roma minority population of Croatia," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 326-336.
    4. Jahns, Lisa & Adair, Linda & Mroz, Thomas & Popkin, Barry M., 2012. "The declining prevalence of overweight among Russian children: Income, diet, and physical activity behavior changes," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 139-146.
    5. Roemling, Cornelia & Qaim, Matin, 2013. "Dual burden households and intra-household nutritional inequality in Indonesia," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 563-573.
    6. Hackman, Joseph & Maupin, Jonathan & Brewis, Alexandra A., 2016. "Weight-related stigma is a significant psychosocial stressor in developing countries: Evidence from Guatemala," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 161(C), pages 55-60.

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