Maternal and Child Nutrition (Jul 2022)

Do changes in women's household status in Nepal improve access to food and nutrition?

  • Nadia Diamond‐Smith,
  • Mahesh Puri,
  • John Neuhaus,
  • Sheri Weiser,
  • Suneetha Kadiyala

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 18, no. 3
pp. n/a – n/a


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Abstract Women's nutritional status remains poor in South Asia, impacting maternal and infant health outcomes. Women's household status is also low, as evidenced by eating behaviours. We started with triadic qualitative interviews with newly married women, husbands and mothers‐in‐law to explore the link between women's status and eating patterns, followed by longitudinal data from a cohort of 200 newly married women in rural Nepal to measure associations over time. Quantitative data were collected every 6 months for 18 months (four rounds of data) between 2018 and 2020. Interviews suggested that household relationships, women's status, and how much and what types of food she was given were intricately linked. Using mixed effects logistic regression models, we explore the association between markers of changing women's status (becoming pregnant, giving birth and working outside the home) on two outcomes (eating last always/usually and achieving minimum dietary diversity). We also explore for interaction between women's status and household food insecurity. Pregnancy increases women's dietary diversity, but this is not sustained post‐partum. Women who work outside the home are less likely to eat last in the household. Food insecurity is associated with both the order of household eating and dietary diversity. Interactions between food insecurity and giving birth suggested that women who give birth in food insecure households are more likely to eat last in the household. Changes in women's household status are associated with some improvements in dietary diversity and order of household eating, but the associations are not long‐lasting and depend on food security status.