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Violence against women and the risk of foetal and early childhood growth impairment. A cohort study in rural Bangladesh.
  1. Kajsa Åsling-Monemi (kajsa.asling{at}kbh.uu.se)
  1. International Maternal and Child Health, Uppsala University, Sweden
    1. Ruchira Tabassum Naved (ruchira{at}icddrb.org)
    1. Public Health Sciences Division, ICDDR,B, Dhaka, Bangladesh
      1. Lars Åke Persson (lars-ake.persson{at}kbh.uu.se)
      1. International Maternal and Child Health, Uppsala University, Sweden

        Abstract

        Objective: To assess whether different forms of family violence against women were associated with impaired size at birth and early childhood growth.

        Methods: A sub-study embedded into a community-based food and micronutrient supplementation trial (MINIMat) of pregnant women in rural Bangladesh, included a 2-year follow-up of the 3164 live-born children of participating women. Anthropometric data were collected from birth up to 24 months of age, and converted to WHO growth standard SD-scores. Size at birth and early childhood growth were assessed in relation to women’s exposure to physical, sexual and emotional violence, and level of controlling behaviour in family.

        Results: Fifty percent of all women reported lifetime experience of some form of family violence.

        Mean birth-weight was 2701g, 30% was low birth-weight (< 2500g), mean birth-length was 47.8 cm, (17.5% <-2SD) and at 24 months of age 37% was underweight and 50% of the children were stunted. Exposure to any form of violence was negatively associated with weight and length at birth and weight-for-age and height-for-age SD scores at 24 months of age, as well as change in weight and height SD score from birth to 24 months of age (P< 0.05, adjusted for potential confounders).

        Conclusions: Violence against women was associated with increased risk of foetal and early childhood growth impairment, adding to the multitude of proven and plausible health consequences caused by this problem.

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