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To explore the association between high-risk fertility behaviours and the likelihood of chronic undernutrition, anaemia and the coexistence of anaemia and undernutrition among women of reproductive age.
The 2011 Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey, conducted from 8 July to 27 December 2011.
Selected urban and rural areas of Bangladesh.
A total of 2197 ever-married women living with at least one child younger than 5 years. Exposure was determined from maternal reports of high-risk fertility behaviours. We considered three parameters, maternal age at the time of delivery, birth order and birth interval, to define the high-risk fertility behaviours. Chronic undernutrition, anaemia and the coexistence of anaemia and undernutrition among women were the outcome variables.
A substantial percentage of women were exposed to have a high-risk fertility pattern (41·8 %); 33·0 % were at single high-risk and 8·8 % were at multiple high-risk. After adjusting for relevant covariates, high-risk fertility behaviours were associated with increased likelihood of chronic undernutrition (adjusted relative risk; 95 % CI: 1·22; 1·03, 1·44), anaemia (1·12; 1·00, 1·25) and the coexistence of anaemia and undernutrition (1·52; 1·17, 1·98). Furthermore, multiple high-risk fertility behaviours appeared to have more profound consequences on the outcome measured.
Maternal high-risk fertility behaviours are shockingly frequent practices among women in Bangladesh. High-risk fertility behaviours are important predictors of the increased likelihood of women’s chronic undernutrition, anaemia and the coexistence of anaemia and undernutrition.
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