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Keywords:

  • intimate partner violence;
  • children;
  • malnutrition;
  • Bangladesh

Abstract

Domestic violence, in particular intimate partner violence (IPV), has been recognized as a leading cause of mortality and morbidity among women of reproductive age. The effects of IPV against women on their children's health, especially their nutritional status has received less attention but needs to be evaluated to understand the comprehensive public health implications of IPV. The aim of current study was to investigate the association between women's exposure to IPV and their children's nutritional status, using data from the 2007 Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey (BDHS). Logistic regression models were used to estimate association between ever-married women's lifetime exposure to physical and sexual violence by their spouses and nutritional status of their children under 5 years. Of 2042 women in the BDHS survey with at least one child under 5 years of age, 49.4% reported lifetime experience of physical partner violence while 18.4% reported experience of sexual partner violence. The prevalence of stunting, wasting and underweight in their children under 5 years was 44.3%, 18.4% and 42.0%, respectively. Women were more likely to have a stunted child if they had lifetime experience of physical IPV [odds ratio n = 2027 (OR)adj, 1.48; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.23–1.79] or had been exposed to sexual IPV (n = 2027 ORadj, 1.28; 95% CI, 1.02–1.61). The present findings contribute to growing body of evidence showing that IPV can also compromise children's growth, supporting the need to incorporate efforts to address IPV in child health and nutrition programmes and policies.