Undernutrition is a significant public health concern in the developing world and factors such as high parity and short birth intervals are significant contributors to maternal undernutrition. This study aimed to assess determinants of undernutrition among women of reproductive age in Sindh, Pakistan, using the national demographic health survey.

Data of 4050 ever married women of reproductive age from the Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey (PDHS) 2012-2013 were analyzed. These included sociodemographic and fertility-related variables. Logistic regression was applied to assess the determinants of undernutrition.

Women having ≥5 children were 47% less likely to be undernourished compared to women having <5 children (OR=0.53; 95% CI: 0.43–0.63). Undernourished women included those who belonged to rural areas (adjusted odds ratio, AOR=3.47; 95% CI: 2.76–4.36), those who breastfed their infants (AOR=1.40; 95% CI: 1.16–1.68), were smokers (AOR=4.35; 95% CI: 2.58–7.34) or worked (AOR=1.22; 95% CI: 1.09–1.47).

The highest rates of undernourishment were found among working women as well as those who breastfed, smoked or belonged to the rural setting. We recommend that breastfeeding and working women should be provided awareness through teaching sessions and other means to improve their nutritional status as this subset of patients typically require additional calories.

The authors have completed and submitted the ICMJE Form for Disclosure of Potential Conflicts of Interest and none was reported.
There was no source of funding for this research.
The manuscript was prepared and conceptualized by SAA who also did the analysis of the data and wrote different sections of the manuscript. SAZ and AA searched the literature to write the introduction and discussion sections of the manuscript and also edited the manuscript. SR and SST assisted in whole manuscript writing and reviewed it critically in the end. All other authors provided mentorship and approved the final version of the manuscript.
Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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