Research Reports

Women’s empowerment is one of the nutrition sensitive intervention for addressing child undernutrition.  Literature mainly from Asian countries indicates the existence of an association between women empowerment and child feeding. However limited literature exist to show the association between child diet diversity and women empowerment in Zambia.  This study was designed to assess the association between women’s empowerment dimensions and child dietary diversity among children 6 to 23 months old in Zambia. The study used secondary data collected for the 2013-2014 Zambia demographic health survey.  The analysis targeted 3136 pair of the youngest child age 6 to 23 months old and married women age 15 to 49 years old living with their partners. Women’s empowerment dimensions were identified from the data using principle component analysis. Multiple regression analysis was used to assess the associations between the women’s empowerment dimensions and child diet diversity while controlling for the covariates. The study found that none of the three empowerment dimensions were associated with child diet diversity.  However, a positive association was found between women’s decision making empowerment dimension and feeding children on dairy products, and also a negative association was established between women’s support for violence against women dimension and feeding children on starchy foods. These results suggests that women’s empowerment programmes have a weak link with child diet diversity which might be associated with the limited integration of child nutrition programmes in women’s empowerment programmes in the country.  The study therefore, fills the knowledge gap on areas that should be targeted when linking nutrition programmes with women’s empowerment programmes.  The results suggests that women’s empowerment programmes should strengthen women’s decision making autonomy and women’s self-esteem to contribute effectively to child diet diversity improvement.  



 Undernutrition among children less than 5 years old is one of the health problems affecting most developing countries (Black et al. 2013b).  A number of factors have been associated with the state of undernutrition in young children, to this effect, countries implement different strategies to address the problem.  This study was designed to assess the association between women’s empowerment as a child nutrition intervention and child diet diversity among children aged 6 to 23 months old in Zambia.  It also specifically assessed the association between women’s empowerment and feeding children on foods from specific food groups.   
This chapter provides background information to the study.  It is structured into two main sections.  The first section provides an overview of child undernutrition and the second part presents the problem statement which formed the basis of this study. 

The poor nutritional situation in Zambia reinforced the urgent need of appropriate and efficient interventions to mitigate malnutrition in the country. However, to effectively formulate and evaluate such nutrition interventions, food consumption data and nutrition status information are required to accelerate the combating this nutritional problem. Unfortunately, there was no updated information on the adequacy of micronutrient intakes in the country. The last National food consumption survey was conducted in 1971 while other micronutrient surveys were limited to few areas. In addition, over the last decade, there have been considerable social, economic and demographic changes in Zambia impacting the food consumption patterns of both rural and urban populations (Mason and Jayne 2009; Chapoto et al 2010). In response, periodic nationally representative food consumption data are critical to the planning and implementation of effective nutrition interventions.


The objective of the survey was to determine iodine status in pregnant women in Zambia and their access to, utilization and coverage of adequately iodized salt by .(1) measuring urinary iodine concentration in the pregnant women, and (2) estimating the coverage of adequately iodated salt in their households.


In Zambia, malnutrition has continued to be a serious public health problem mainly affecting under-five children and women of reproductive age. The latest figures on Protein Energy Malnutrition (PEM) indicate that nearly half of the Zambian children are stunted (46.8%), 28% are underweight while 5% are wasted (CSO, 2001-2). These rates are among the highest in the sub-region. Other nutrition and health problems are as a result of micronutrient deficiencies arising from of Iodine, Iron and Vitamin A.


Poor nutrition is universally recognized as an underlying cause of mortality in children and as a major contributor to a number of health problems in all segments of the population. In order to better inform policy makers, planners and Programme officers on efforts being made to improve nutrition in Zambia, a monitoring and evaluation framework was developed by partners engaged in nutrition Programming under the auspices of the National Food and Nutrition Commission. The framework was used as a guide to assemble relevant information about the food, nutrition and health of the Zambian population and existing interventions for improving the nutritional health.


Malnutrition is serious public health concern in Zambia. It is estimated that 1.5 million children suffer from chronic malnutrition. The most recent data shows that among children less than five years of age, 47% are stunted, 28% are underweight and 5% are acutely malnourished. Additionally, Zambia has the highest malnutrition case fatality (40%) in the region. Micronutrient deficiencies are also prevalent, especially vitamin A and iron deficiency.


The assessment has revealed areas that have been well addressed in the country and those that have inadequacies that need to be focused on. It is hoped that this exercise provides an opportunity for Zambia to review the IYCF program and ensure that it is on the right truck to achieving the goals that were set in the IYCF strategy. Achieving of the goals will translate into improved child survival, growth and development. This can be done with concerted efforts from other partners


This report is based on a rapid assessment conducted in December, 2008 to ascertain the levels of malnutrition in Lusaka urban. It was a cross-sectional descriptive survey that was aimed at establishing factors that have led to an increase in under five year old malnutrition admission rates at the University Teaching Hospital. The study was undertaken following reports that during the period of August-October, 2008, the case load of severe malnutrition admissions to the University Teaching Hospital (Ward A07) had gone beyond seasonal trend with an average of 15 admissions daily making.

Food nutrient composition and food diversity have important implications on the status of the populations consuming them. In Zambia the nutrition situation is deteriorating as represented by important child growth indicators such as cases of severe malnutrition, stunting and wasting. In order for nutritional intervention programmes to be done
objectively there is need to establish the nutrient intakes of the concerned population and this requires theuseof foodcompositiontables. The current Zambian food composition tables are not inclusive of many important common local foods and it was last updated in 1987. In addition, many other local foods and some new foods have come on the scene, but their food value is not known, hence do not appear in the tables as well. Therefore, main objective of this research project was to address the urgent need to review, evaluate and update the current Zambian food compositiontables andincludeothercommonlyconsumedfoodstuffs.


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