PLoS One. 2023 Dec 14;18(12):e0289880. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0289880. eCollection 2023.
This study aims to investigate socioeconomic disparities in nutritional status among ever-married women in Bangladesh and to break down urban-rural differences in the underlying causes of undernutrition. We utilized data from the Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey 2017-18, a sample size of 18328 ever-married women, including 5170 from urban residences, and 13159 from rural residences. To explore socioeconomic inequality, we employed a concentration indexing measure, while a multiple binary logistic regression model was carried out to identify the determinants associated with the outcome variable. A Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition analysis was performed to decompose the urban-rural gap in women’s nutritional status using associated factors. The prevalence of undernutrition among ever-married women in Bangladesh was 12 percent. Notably, this percentage varied by region, with urban residents accounting for 8.6% and rural residents accounting for 13.3%. Our findings confirmed that undernutrition was more prevalent among women with lower wealth indexes in Bangladesh, as indicated by the concentration index (CIX = -0.26). The multivariable analysis investigating the determinants of undernutrition status among ever-married women, with a focus on residence revealed significant associations with respondent age, education, marital status, mass media access, wealth status, and division. According to the Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition and its extension, the prevalence was significantly higher in rural residences of Bangladesh than in urban residences, and the endowment effect explained 86 percent of the total urban-rural difference in undernutrition prevalence. The results of this study indicate that the factors that influence women’s nutritional status in rural areas play a significant role in the gap, and the majority of the gap is caused by education and economic position. In order to effectively promote maternal health policies in Bangladesh, intervention techniques should be created that are aimed at the population, that is, the poorest and least educated.