IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

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


  • Ukwuani, Festus A.
  • Suchindran, Chirayath M.


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Ukwuani, Festus A. & Suchindran, Chirayath M., 2003. "Implications of women's work for child nutritional status in sub-Saharan Africa: a case study of Nigeria," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 56(10), pages 2109-2121, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:56:y:2003:i:10:p:2109-2121

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Jones, Andrew D. & Cruz Agudo, Yesmina & Galway, Lindsay & Bentley, Jeffery & Pinstrup-Andersen, Per, 2012. "Heavy agricultural workloads and low crop diversity are strong barriers to improving child feeding practices in the Bolivian Andes," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(9), pages 1673-1684.
    2. Ahmed Rashad & Mesbah Sharaf, 2017. "Does Maternal Employment Affect Child Nutrition Status? New Evidence From Egypt," Working Papers 1149, Economic Research Forum, revised 11 Jan 2003.
    3. Zewdie, Tadiwos & Abebaw, Degnet, 0. "Determinants of Child Malnutrition: Empirical Evidence from Kombolcha District of Eastern Hararghe Zone, Ethiopia," Quarterly Journal of International Agriculture, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, vol. 52.
    4. Dury, S. & Alpha, A. & Bichard, A., 2014. "What risks do agricultural interventions entail for nutrition?," Working Papers MOISA 201403, UMR MOISA : Marchés, Organisations, Institutions et Stratégies d'Acteurs : CIHEAM-IAMM, CIRAD, INRA, Montpellier SupAgro - Montpellier, France.
    5. Larrea, Carlos & Kawachi, Ichiro, 2005. "Does economic inequality affect child malnutrition? The case of Ecuador," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 165-178, January.
    6. Rieger, Matthias & Wagner, Natascha, 2015. "Child health, its dynamic interaction with nutrition and health memory – Evidence from Senegal," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 16(C), pages 135-145.
    7. Derose, Laurie F, 2007. "Women's Work and Breastfeeding Simultaneously Rise in Ghana," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 55(3), pages 583-612, April.
    8. Laurie F. DeRose, 2007. "Women’s Work and Breastfeeding Simultaneously Rise in Ghana," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 55, pages 583-612.
    9. Tasnim Khan & Rana Ejaz Ali Khan & Muhammad Ali Raza, 2015. "Gender Analysis of Malnutrition: A Case Study of School-Going Children in Bahawalpur," Asian Development Policy Review, Asian Economic and Social Society, vol. 3(2), pages 29-48, June.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:56:y:2003:i:10:p:2109-2121. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.