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J Environ Public Health. 2018 May 14;2018:7659204. doi: 10.1155/2018/7659204. eCollection 2018.

Household Food Insecurity, Underweight Status, and Associated Characteristics among Women of Reproductive Age Group in Assayita District, Afar Regional State, Ethiopia.

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Department of Public Health, Samara University, Afar, Ethiopia.
School of Public Health, Haramaya University, Harar, Ethiopia.



Poor nutritional status of women has been a serious problem in Ethiopia. Rural women are more likely to be undernourished than urban women. Afar region is the most likely to be undernourished (43.5%). Despite the humanitarian and food aid, food insecurity and maternal underweight are very high in the region. Household food insecurity is not adequately studied in Afar region. The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of household food insecurity and underweight status and its association among reproductive age women.


The study was conducted in Assayita district in June 2015. Community-based cross-sectional study design was used among nonpregnant women. Household data was collected using structured questionnaire. Multistage cluster sampling procedure was applied. Two pastoral and two agropastoral Kebeles have been selected by simple random sampling. Systematic random sampling was used to select respondents. The total sample size was 549 households. Household Food Insecurity Access Scale (HFIAS) and anthropometric data were used to determine food insecurity and underweight, respectively. Multivariate regression models were used to measure associations.


Prevalence of HFIAS was 70.4 with a mean of 7.0 (3.6 ± SD); 26.1%, 30.20%, and 14.1% were mild, moderate, and severe food insecurity, respectively. Underweight prevalence (BMI < 18.5) was 41.1% with prevalence of mild, moderate, and severe underweight being 34.5%, 3.9%, and 2.7%, respectively. Age, parity, and having >2 children below five years of age were statistically associated with household food insecurity and maternal underweight.


Household food insecurity and maternal underweight were very high. Age, parity, and having ≥2 children below five years of age were associated with household food insecurity. Maternal underweight was associated with maternal age, marital status, parity, number of children below 5 years, household food insecurity, and vocation of the respondents.

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