In Sub-Saharan Africa, the overlapping epidemics of undernutrition and HIV infection affect over 200 and 23 million people, respectively, and little is known about the combined prevalence and nutritional effects. The authors sought to determine which structural factors are associated with food insufficiency, low dietary diversity and low body mass index (BMI) in HIV-negative and HIV-infected Sub-Saharan women.
Cross-sectional analysis of a longitudinal cohort.
Community-based women's organisations.
161 HIV-negative and 514 HIV-infected Rwandan women.
Primary and secondary outcome measures
Primary outcomes included food insufficiency (reporting ‘usually not’ or ‘never’ to ‘Do you have enough food?’), low household dietary diversity (Household Dietary Diversity Score ≤3) and BMI <18.5 (kg/m2). The authors also measured structural and behavioural factors including: income, household size, literacy and alcohol use.
Food insufficiency was prevalent (46%) as was low dietary diversity (43%) and low BMI (15%). Food insufficiency and dietary diversity were associated with low income (adjusted odds ratio (aOR)=2.14 (95% CI 1.30 to 3.52) p<0.01), (aOR=6.51 (95% CI 3.66 to 11.57) p<0.001), respectfully and illiteracy (aOR=2.00 (95% CI 1.31 to 3.04) p<0.01), (aOR=2.10 (95% CI 1.37 to 3.23) p<0.001), respectfully and were not associated with HIV infection. Alcohol use was strongly associated with food insufficiency (aOR=3.23 (95% CI 1.99 to 5.24) p<0.001). Low BMI was inversely associated with HIV infection (aOR≈0.5) and was not correlated with food insufficiency or dietary diversity.
Rwandan women experienced high rates of food insufficiency and low dietary diversity. Extreme poverty, illiteracy and alcohol use, not HIV infection alone, may contribute to food insufficiency in Rwandan women. Food insufficiency, dietary diversity and low BMI do not correlate with one another; therefore, low BMI may not be an adequate screening tool for food insufficiency. Further studies are needed to understand the health effects of not having enough food, low food diversity and low weight in both HIV-negative and HIV-infected women.
What structural determinants are associated with food insufficiency, low dietary diversity and low BMI in HIV-negative and HIV-infected women in Rwanda?
What is the prevalence of food insufficiency, low dietary diversity and low BMI in HIV-negative and HIV-infected women in Rwanda and are these outcomes correlated with each other?
1: Poverty, low literacy status and alcohol use are associated with food insufficiency, low dietary diversity and low BMI.
2: Food insufficiency, low dietary diversity and low BMI are highly prevalent and are correlated with one another.
Food insufficiency and low dietary diversity are highly prevalent (46% and 43%, respectively) and are associated with low income and illiteracy and strongly associated with alcohol use.
BMI (kg/m2) is not correlated with food insufficiency or dietary diversity.
Significance: food insufficiency and low dietary diversity, known contributors to poor health, are highly prevalent in HIV-negative and HIV-infected women in Rwanda. Low BMI may not be an adequate screening tool for food insufficiency. Extreme poverty, low literacy and alcohol use may contribute to food insufficiency and low dietary diversity. These structural factors may be useful targets to prevent the adverse health effects of food insufficiency and low dietary diversity.
Strengths and limitations of this study
Large cohort of HIV-negative and HIV-infected women, very detailed tools used for food insufficiency and dietary diversity
Cross-sectional design, our measurement of food insufficiency is solely by self-report.