Women’s dietary diversity scores and childhood anthropometric measurements as indices of nutrition insecurity along the urban-rural continuum in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso

  • Takemore Chagomoka University of Freiburg
  • Axel Drescher
  • Rüdiger Glaser
  • Bernd Marschner
  • Johannes Schlesinger
  • George Nyandoro
Keywords: Women dietary diversity score, anthropometric measurements, nutrition security, urban – rural continuum, Ouagadougou


Background: Malnutrition is still prevalent worldwide, and its severity, which differs between regions and countries, has led to international organisations proposing its inclusion in the global development framework that will succeed the Millennium Development Goals (post-2015 framework). In Sub-Saharan Africa, malnutrition is particularly severe, among women and children under 5 years. The prevalence of malnutrition has been reported worldwide, differing from region to region and country to country. Nevertheless, little is known about how malnutrition differs between multiple locations along an urban–rural continuum.

Objective: A survey was carried out in and around Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, between August and September 2014 to map household nutrition insecurity along the urban–rural continuum, using a transect approach to guide the data collection.

Design: Transects of 70 km long and 2 km wide directed radially from the city centre outwards were laid, and data were collected from randomly selected households along these transects. Women’s dietary diversity scores (WDDSs) were calculated from a sample of 179 women of reproductive age (15–49 years) from randomly selected households. Additionally, anthropometric data (height/length and weight) of 133 children under 5 years of age were collected along the same transects for the computation of anthropometric indices.

Results: We found that relative proportions of the nutrition indices such as stunting, wasting and underweight varied across the urban–rural continuum. Rural households (15%) had the highest relative proportion of WDDS compared with urban households (11%) and periurban households (8%). There was a significant association between children under 5 years’ nutritional status (wasting, stunting and underweight) and spatial location (p=0.023). The level of agricultural activities is a possible indicator of wasting in children aged 6–59 months (p=0.032).

Conclusion: Childhood undernutrition certainly has a spatial dimension that is highly influenced by the degree of urbanity, which should be taken into consideration in policy formulation and implementation.

Keywords: women’s dietary diversity score; anthropometric measurements; nutrition security; urban–rural continuum; Ouagadougou

(Published: 12 February 2016)

Citation: Food & Nutrition Research 2016, 60: 29425 - http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/fnr.v60.29425


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Author Biography

Takemore Chagomoka, University of Freiburg
Institute of Environmental Social Sciences and Geography
How to Cite
Chagomoka, T., Drescher, A., Glaser, R., Marschner, B., Schlesinger, J., & Nyandoro, G. (2016). Women’s dietary diversity scores and childhood anthropometric measurements as indices of nutrition insecurity along the urban-rural continuum in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Food & Nutrition Research, 60. https://doi.org/10.3402/fnr.v60.29425
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