Relationships between women’s education and children’s micronutrient status: global patterns and trends

Abstract Number Theme Presentation Type Cover Approved
0172 Prevalence and risk factors for micronutrient status(deficiency, overload) Poster Not Approved


Abstract Content


Formal education can be a nutrition-sensitive intervention. While maternal education has been linked to child survival and growth, as well as to adult earnings, less is known about relationships between maternal education and children’s micronutrient status.


Using an ecological study design and linear regression models with country-level data, we explored associations between women’s educational attainment and child (6-59 months old) and women anemia, child vitamin A deficiency (VAD), population-wide zinc deficiency, urinary iodine excretion (UIE) in the population, and the proportion of infants protected against iodine deficiency (ID).


Lower average years of schooling attained by adult women was significantly negatively associated with anemia among children (and among women), and also with child VAD and zinc deficiency. The percent of adult women with no schooling was associated with all outcomes. Income level was a significant effect modifier for years of women’s education on child anemia and no schooling on zinc deficiency in the population, but not on other outcomes. For child anemia, the relationship was strongest in low income countries, and not significant among upper middle income countries. For zinc deficiency, the relationship was not significant for low and lower middle income countries, suggesting that a base level of resources is needed before education may influence zinc status.


These findings highlight important connections between formal education and anemia and micronutrient status globally. The presentation will discuss some of the plausible mechanisms through which these relationships may be working at the household and individual level.

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