Prevalence and factors associated with malnutrition among pregnant women in Lamwo District Northern Uganda
Alanyo, Linda Grace
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Background Maternal malnutrition is one of the major causes of morbidity and mortality among pregnant women and infants. It’s estimated that approximately 32 million pregnant women suffer from anemia worldwide and 5%-20% of mothers have a low BMI of <18.5 kg/m2 in Sub-Saharan Africa. While Malnutrition is a common problem in Uganda, the magnitude of malnutrition especially among pregnant women in a post-conflict situation where food may be scarce has not been documented. The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence and factors associated with malnutrition among pregnant women in Lamwo District Northern Uganda. Method A cross-sectional descriptive study was carried among 523 pregnant women who were consecutively enrolled into the study from four health facilities in Lamwo District. The sample size was calculated using Kish Leslie formula considering the prevalence of malnutrition at 19.1%. Mid upper arm circumference (MUAC) of ≤23cm was used as a cutoff for malnutrition. Data on factors associated with malnutrition was collected using an interviewer administered questionnaire. Proportions were computed to determine the prevalence and multivariable logistic regression was used to determine factors associated with malnutrition. Statistical significance was considered at a p-value of < 0.05. Results The mean age of women was 25.5 (SD±6.0) years and 20.5% were single while only 14.9% had attained secondary education. A majority (63.5%) of the women were in the third trimester and 35.2% were grand multigravidas. The prevalence of malnutrition among pregnant women was 8.8% according to MUAC measurements. Using logistics regression, high socio economic status p=0.046, [OR 0.50, (95% CI: 0.25-0.99)] and single marital status p=0.009, [OR 0.30, (95% CI: 0.12-0.74)] were significantly associated with malnutrition. Conclusion Malnutrition was low among pregnant women in Lamwo District. Low socio economic status and being married were risk factors for malnutrition. Livelihood programs that improve the economic status of households can reduce malnutrition. There need for further studies to investigate why married women were more likely to be malnourished.