Food insecurity and nutritional status of preconception women in a rural population of North Karnataka, India

Reprod Health. 2018 Jun 22;15(Suppl 1):90. doi: 10.1186/s12978-018-0535-2.


Background: As per the World Health Organization, the nutritional status of women of reproductive age is important, as effects of undernutrition are propagated to future generations. More than one-third of Indian women in the reproductive age group are in a state of chronic nutritional deficiency during the preconception period leading to poor health and likely resulting in low birth weight babies. This study was aimed to assess the food insecurity and nutritional status of preconception women in a rural population of north Karnataka.

Methods: A total of 770 preconception women were enrolled across a district in Karnataka from selected primary health centre areas by a cluster sampling method. Data on socioeconomic status, food insecurity and obstetric history were collected by trained research assistants, interviewing women at home. In half of the participants, a 1 day 24 -hour dietary recalls were conducted by dietary assistants to assess the dietary intakes. Anthropometric measurements and haemoglobin estimation were carried out at the health centres.

Results: In the present study, a majority of the participants (64.8%) belonged to the lower socio-economic classes and the prevalence of food insecurity was 27.4%. A majority of the participants had mild (15.5%) to moderate (78.6%) anaemia. About one-third of the participants (36.6%) were underweight. Significant associations were found between socio-economic status and anaemia (p = 0.0006) and between food insecurity and anaemia (p = 0.0001).

Conclusion: The nutritional status of preconception women was poor and anemia was more prevalent in low-socioeconomic and food insecure population.

Keywords: Nutritional status; Preconception women; Socio-economic status and food insecurity.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anemia / epidemiology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Food Supply*
  • Humans
  • India / epidemiology
  • Nutritional Status*
  • Poverty*
  • Preconception Care*
  • Pregnancy
  • Rural Population
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Thinness / epidemiology*
  • Young Adult