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Investigating the associations between intimate partner violence and nutritional status of women in Zimbabwe

Published onJul 26, 2022
Investigating the associations between intimate partner violence and nutritional status of women in Zimbabwe
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Investigating the associations between intimate partner violence and nutritional status of women in Zimbabwe
Description

Background Intimate partner violence (IPV) against women and poor nutritional status are growing health problems in low and middle-income countries (LMICs). Moreover, violence against women has been shown to be associated with poor nutrition. This study investigated the relationship between IPV and nutritional status (i.e., underweight, overweight, and obesity) among women of reproductive age (15–49 years) in Zimbabwe. Methods Pooled data from the 2005/2006, 2010/2011, and 2015 Zimbabwe Demographic Health Surveys (ZDHS) on 13,008 married/cohabiting women were analysed. Multinomial logistic regression models were used to examine the associations between the various forms of IPV and the nutritional status of women. We further estimated the prevalence of BMI ≥ 25.0 kg/m2 (overweight and obesity) by intimate partner violence type. Results The mean BMI of women was 24.3 kg/m2, more than one-fifth (24%) were overweight and about 12% were obese. Forty-three percent (43%) of women reported to have ever experienced at least one form of intimate partner violence. More than one-third (35%) of women who reported to have ever experienced at least one form of intimate partner violence had a BMI ≥ 25.0 kg/m2 (p< 0.01). Relative to normal weight, women who had ever experienced at least one form of IPV (i.e., physical, emotional, or sexual) were more likely to be obese (aOR = 2.59; 95% CI = 1.05–6.39). Women’s exposure to any form of intimate partner violence was not significantly associated with the likelihood of being underweight or overweight relative to normal weight. Conclusions The study findings show that women of reproductive age in Zimbabwe are at high risk of both IPV and excess weight. Moreover, we found a positive relationship between exposure to at least one form IPV and obesity. Public health interventions that target the well-being, empowerment and development of women are needed to address the complex issue of IPV and adverse health outcomes, including obesity.

 

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