Food insecurity and dietary diversity among lactating mothers in the urban municipality in the mountains of Nepal

Devendra Raj Singh, Saruna Ghimire, Satya Raj Upadhayay, Sunita Singh, Umesh Ghimire

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Background Adequate nutrition is essential during the lactation period for better maternal and child health outcomes. Although food insecurity and dietary monotony (defined as less diverse diet), two important determinants of undernutrition, are endemic in the rural mountains of Nepal, insufficiently examined and assessed for risk factors in mothers during lactation, a life stage of high nutritional demand. This study aimed to assess the status and factors associated with food insecurity and dietary diversity among lactating mothers residing in the mountains of Nepal. Methods A community-based cross-sectional study was conducted in an urban municipality in the mountainous Bajhang District of far-western Nepal. The sampling frame and strategy led to 417 randomly selected lactating mothers. Household Food Insecurity Access Scale (HFIAS) and the tool “Minimum Dietary Diversity for Women” developed by the Food and Agriculture Organization were used to measure food insecurity and dietary diversity, respectively. Additional information on socio-demographics and risk factors were collected. Multivariable logistics regression assessed correlates of study outcomes. Results Overall, 54% of the households were food insecure, and over half (53%) of the mothers had low dietary diversity. Food insecurity status (mild food insecurity AOR = 10.12, 95% CI = 4.21–24.34; moderate food insecurity AOR = 8.17, 95% CI = 3.24–20.59, and severe food insecurity AOR = 10.56, 95% CI = 3.92–28.43) were associated with higher odds of dietary monotony. Likewise, participants with lower dietary diversity were 8.5 times more likely to be food insecure than those with higher dietary diversity (AOR = 8.48, 95% CI = 3.76–19.14). The monthly income of the family was positively associated with food insecurity. Participants’ (AOR = 3.92 95%CI = 1.76–8.71) or spouses’ (AOR = 2.90, 95% CI = 1.07–7.85) unemployment was associated with higher odds of being food insecure. Likewise, owning a cultivable land (AOR = 0.49, 95% CI = 0.28–0.84) and participant’s unemployment status (AOR = 5.92, 95% CI = 3.02–11.63), were significantly associated with increased odds of dietary monotony. Conclusion The observed food insecurity and poor dietary diversity among lactating mothers, the correlates associated with these outcomes, may help local stakeholders to identify local health needs and subgroups for targeted interventions. Socioeconomically disadvantaged mothers should be specifically targeted for relevant programs and policies.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0227873
Number of pages17
JournalPLoS One
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Food insecurity and dietary diversity among lactating mothers in the urban municipality in the mountains of Nepal'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this