Women's autonomy and social support and their associations with infant and young child feeding and nutritional status: community-based survey in rural Nicaragua.Public Health Nutr. 2015 Aug; 18(11):1979-90.PH
To evaluate the associations of women's autonomy and social support with infant and young child feeding practices (including consumption of highly processed snacks and sugar-sweetened beverages) and nutritional status in rural Nicaragua.
Cross-sectional study. Feeding practices and children's nutritional status were evaluated according to the WHO guidelines complemented with information on highly processed snacks and sugar-sweetened beverages. Women's autonomy was assessed by a seventeen-item questionnaire covering dimensions of financial independence, household-, child-, reproductive and health-related decision making and freedom of movement. Women's social support was determined using the Duke-UNC Functional Social Support Questionnaire. The scores attained were categorized into tertiles.
Los Cuatro Santos area, rural Nicaragua.
A total of 1371 children 0-35 months of age.
Children of women with the lowest autonomy were more likely to be exclusively breast-fed and continue to be breast-fed, while children of women with middle level of autonomy had better complementary feeding practices. Children of women with the lowest social support were more likely to consume highly processed snacks and/or sugar-sweetened beverages but also be taller.
While lower levels of autonomy and social support were independently associated with some favourable feeding and nutrition outcomes, this may not indicate a causal relationship but rather that these factors reflect other matters of importance for child care.