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Implications of women's work for child nutritional status in sub-Saharan Africa: a case study of Nigeria

  • Ukwuani, Festus A.
  • Suchindran, Chirayath M.
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    The study examines the relationships between women's work and child nutritional status (stunting and wasting) of 5331 Nigerian children aged 0-59 months, using data from the 1990 Nigerian Demographic and Health Survey. In defining women's work, the study considers whether women earned cash from their work and carried their children to work in order to assess the importance of childcare and income, which are the principal pathways through which women's work affects child nutritional status. The study also examines infants and children differently in order to assess the influence of child's age on nutritional status. The results reveal that wasting among infants increased when mothers did not take them to work. Furthermore, mothers' work reduced stunting in their children, but the expected positive effect of earning cash from work on childhood nutrition was less visible from the results. Other results from the study revealed that during infancy, having recent episodes of diarrhea or shorter breast-feeding duration increased wasting. Additionally, wasting was lower during infancy for children in households with pit toilets and children with Christian mothers. For infants, immunization reduced stunting, but longer duration of breast-feeding, being a higher parity child, being in households with pit toilets increased stunting. During childhood, higher birth weight, immunization, and having a Christian mother reduced stunting and wasting. Children in wealthy households are less likely to be stunted, while mother's education and being a higher parity child increased stunting. Also during childhood, having a Christian mother reduced wasting while recent episodes of fever increased wasting.

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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.

    Volume (Year): 56 (2003)
    Issue (Month): 10 (May)
    Pages: 2109-2121

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:56:y:2003:i:10:p:2109-2121
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