Women's participation in household decision-making and higher dietary diversity: findings from nationally representative data from Ghana

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BACKGROUND: Low-quality monotonous diet is a major problem confronting resource-constrained settings across the world. Starchy staple foods dominate the diets in these settings. This places the population, especially women of reproductive age, at a risk of micronutrients deficiencies. This study seeks to examine the association between women's decision-making autonomy and women's achievement of higher dietary diversity (DD) and determine the socio-demographic factors that can independently predict women's attainment of higher DD. METHODS: The study used data from the 2008 Ghana Demographic and Health Survey. The participants comprised of 2262 women aged 15-49 years and who have complete dietary data. The DD score was derived from a 24-h recall of intake of foods from nine groups. The score was dichotomized into lower DD (DD ≤4) and higher (DD ≥5). Logistic regression was used to assess the association between women decision-making autonomy (final say on how to spend money, making household purchases, own health care, opinions on wife-beating, and sexual intercourse with husband) and the achievement of higher DD. The logistic regression models were adjusted for covariates at the individual and household levels. RESULTS: The analysis showed that women participation in decision-making regarding household purchases was significantly associated with higher DD, after adjusting for individual and household level covariates. The odds of achieving higher DD were higher among women who had a say in deciding household purchases, compared to women who did not have a say (OR = 1.74, 95 % CI = 1.24, 2.42). Women who had more than primary education were 1.6 times more likely to achieve higher DD, compared to those with no education (95 % CI = 1.12, 2.20). Compared to women who lived in polygamous households, those who lived in monogamous households had higher odds of achieving higher DD (OR = 1.42, 95 % CI = 1.04, 1.93). CONCLUSIONS: Net other covariates, women who have a say in making household purchases are more likely to achieve higher DD compare to those who do not have a say. This may indicate autonomy to buy nutritious foods, suggesting that improving women decision-making autonomy could have a positive impact on women dietary intake.

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Amugsi, D. A., Lartey, A., Kimani, E., & Mberu, B. U. (2016). Women’s participation in household decision-making and higher dietary diversity: findings from nationally representative data from Ghana. Journal of Health, Population, and Nutrition, 35(1), 16. https://doi.org/10.1186/s41043-016-0053-1

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