Monika Agarwal, Chhavi Pant, J. V. Singh
Abstract: Background Poor health of Indian women is of great concern to policy makers and program managers. It is generally expected that women who work at regular job, who earn money and contributes a substantial amount to the family earnings would likely to be more empowered than non-employed women. Their health and nutrition status would be in much better condition in comparison to the economically dependent women. Objectives To compare the nutritional status and nutrients intake of economically independent and dependent women and effect of employment status of women on their nutritional status in relation to the underlying variables. Methods Cross sectional study was conducted among 200 economically dependent and 200 economically independent women in urban areas of Lucknow city. Nutritional status of the study participants was assessed by anthropometric measurements, , hemoglobin estimation and assessment of dietary intake. Discreet data was analyzed using Pearsons Chi square test for non formal distribution. Continuous data was analyzed using Wilcoxon (Mann Whitney) test and Students test. P value <0.05 was considered significant in the study. Results No significant difference in mean height, weight and BMI was found between economically dependent and economically independent women. Mean haemoglobin level was significantly higher in economically dependent women. On regression analysis, significant increase in nutrient intake was observed when we moved from the employed to the non employed women group. Increase in education level was found to be associated with increase in intake of calories and proteins but not with the iron intake. Conclusions Providing only the employment opportunities to the women is not sufficient to bring change in their nutritional status. With it, increase in their education level and raising their awareness about balanced diet and nutritional requirement is also very important.
Keywords: Economically dependent women, economically independent women, nutritional status, urban areas