Household Food Insecurity and Women’s Health in Nepal

Nadia Diamond-Smith, University of California, San Francisco
Sheri Weiser, University of California, San Francisco

Households in Nepal experience high levels of food insecurity. Past research has suggested that food insecurity impacts women’s health and reproductive health outcomes, perhaps due to high levels of gender inequality in South Asia Using data from the 2011 Nepal DHS, we explore the relationship between household food insecurity and women’s BMI, number of living children and family planning use. We also explore how food insecurity affects children’s BMI. We find that women who live in severely food insecure households have lower BMIs, more living children, and are less likely to use a modern method of contraceptives. Food insecurity is not associated with the youngest child’s BMI however. This suggests that women are especially at risk of suffering adverse health outcomes from household level food insecurity, and that this is also associated with other reproductive health outcomes and. Policies and programs should focus on women’s specific vulnerability to food insecurity.

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 Presented in Session P6. Migration and Urbanization/Population, Development, and the Environment