What is the role of maternal education and early feeding recommendations to fight anemia and overweight in 6-23 month old children? Evidence from 87 Demographic and Health Surveys

Abstract Number Theme Presentation Type Cover Approved
0440 Micronutrients, overweight and obesity Poster Not Approved


Abstract Content


Recent data on low and middle income countries has shown that micronutrient deficiencies are still significant at the same time overweight is becoming a public health concern causing a double burden of disease. In general maternal education has shown strong association with children’s health outcomes such as stunting, anemia and underweight. However, there is limited literature that has used maternal education in developing countries to understand its relationship with overweight in children. The aim of this study is to shed some light on the association between mother’s education level and early feeding types on childhoods overweight.


We combined 87 Demographic Health Surveys from 2006-2014 including 100,000 children aged 6 to 23 months. We ran multilevel regression models with survey year and community fixed effects. A sub analyses was done over subjects with available blood hemoglobin levels.


In contrast to what we found in stunting, anemia and underweight maternal education was not associated with lower rates of overweight in children. We found a strong association between maternal overweight, stunting and anemia on children respective health outcome. Breastfeeding status, consumption on fortified baby food and fruits and vegetables were associated with lower rates of overweigh. Infant formula, fortified baby food and fruits and vegetable were associated with lower rates of stunting and anemia.


The association between maternal education and overweight should be better understood. Probably cultural belief on child’s healthy weight are bias towards overweight. Maternal characteristics contribute largely on child health outcomes including weight status.

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