Double Burden of Malnutrition Among Ever-Married Women in Bangladesh: A Pooled Analysis

BMC Womens Health. 2019 Jan 31;19(1):24. doi: 10.1186/s12905-019-0725-2.


Background: Evidences show that the burden of overweight and obesity is escalating in developing countries with predominant burden of underweight. The coexistence of underweight and overweight/obesity is known as double burden of malnutrition. Recent scanty studies confirmed that Bangladesh is currently experiencing augmented overweight and obesity as well as abating underweight. The present study aimed at assessing the changes of prevalence of overweight/obesity and underweight from 2004 to 2014 and investigated the socio-demographic correlates of being overweight/obese and underweight among ever-married women age 15-49 years.

Methods: Data were collected from four consecutive Demographic and Health Surveys conducted in Bangladesh in 2004 (N = 11,173), 2007 (N = 10,993), 2011 (N = 17,749), 2014 (N = 17,690). Multinomial logistic regression model has been used to determine association between different socio-demographic predictors with overweight/obesity and underweight among ever-married women age 15-49 years considering normal weight as reference category.

Results: The prevalence of underweight decreased by 43.2% (from 32.2% in 2004 to 18.3% in 2014) and 130.5% increase in overweight and obesity (from 10.5% in 2004 to 24.2% in 2014) were found over the ten years period. Age, educational status, wealth index and year were positively associated with overweight and obesity and negatively associated with underweight. Also, 'not being married' status for rural women were positively associated with underweight and negatively associated with overweight and obesity. Rural women were less likely to be overweight and obese (OR = 0.7, 95% CI: 0.7-0.8) while more likely to be underweight (OR = 1.1, 95% CI: 1.1-1.2) relative to urban women respectively. The likelihood of being overweight and obese was 4.5 times (95% CI: 4.1-4.9) higher among women who were in richest quintile compared to poorest women. They were also less likely to be underweight (OR = 0.4, 95% CI: 0.3-0.4) relative to same reference category.

Conclusion: The double burden of malnutrition is evidently prevailing in Bangladesh. Over the ten years period, overweight and obesity has been raised tremendously but underweight did not fall significantly. This study suggests that strategies for preventing both underweight and overweight/obesity simultaneously among reproductive women need to be implemented considering regional context and their socioeconomic status (SES).

Keywords: Bangladesh; Double burden of malnutrition; Pooled analysis; Women.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bangladesh / epidemiology
  • Developing Countries
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Malnutrition / epidemiology*
  • Marriage / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Overweight / epidemiology*
  • Poverty / statistics & numerical data*
  • Prevalence
  • Rural Population / statistics & numerical data
  • Social Class
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Thinness / epidemiology*
  • Young Adult