Inappropriate feeding practices of children during illness remains a public health problem globally, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). One strategy to improve child health outcomes is through women empowerment—measured by wife beating attitude. However, the role of attitude towards wife beating in child feeding practices has not been comprehensively studied. Therefore, we investigated the association between women's attitude towards wife beating and child feeding practices during childhood diarrhea in 28 countries in SSA.
We analyzed data from the Demographic and Health Survey on 40,720 children under 5 years. Bivariate and multivariate binary logistic regression analyses were applied to assess the association between women's attitude towards wife beating and child feeding practices. The results were presented using adjusted odds ratio (aOR) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs).
The pooled results showed that appropriate feeding practices during diarrheal illness among under-five children was 9.3% in SSA, varying from 0.4% in Burkina Faso to 21.1% in Kenya. Regarding regional coverage, the highest coverage was observed in Central Africa (9.3%) followed by East Africa (5.5%), Southern Africa (4.8%), and West Africa (4.2%). Women who disagreed with wife-beating practices had higher odds of proper child feeding practices during childhood diarrhea compared to those who justified wife-beating practices (aOR = 2.02, 95% CI; 1.17–3.48).
The findings suggest that women’s disagreement with wife beating is strongly associated with proper child feeding practices during diarrheal illness in SSA. Proactive measures and interventions designed to change attitudes towards wife-beating practices are crucial to improving proper feeding practices in SSA.
Bibliographical noteThe authors thank the MEASURE DHS project for their support and for free access to the original data.
- Child feeding
- Sub-Saharan Africa
- Wife beating attitude