Gutka consumption and dietary partialities explaining anemia in women of a coastal slum of Karachi, Pakistan: A mixed-method study

Ameer Muhammad, Sarah Saleem, Daniyaal Ahmad, Eleze Tariq, Yasir Shafiq

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Abstract

Background Limited literature is available on the dietary pattern and its consequences on health of women living in coastal slums of Karachi, Pakistan. Material and methods The study employed a mixed-method approach where concurrent quantitative and qualitative assessments were carried out. An analytical cross-sectional survey was conducted to collect information on demographic, household, obstetrics characteristics, and dietary pattern of married women of reproductive age (MWRA). Blood samples were collected to identify the hemoglobin level to determine anemia. For the qualitative component, focus group discussions were carried out with women and in-depth interviews with shopkeepers to understand the availability of food items at household level and in local markets respectively. In addition, observational visits were carried out at different points in time to the local market to document the availability of iron-rich foods for the community. Results The overall prevalence of anemia in sample population was 68.0%. Women with no formal education (AOR: 2.93 95% CI: 1.90–4.52), who consumed gutka (AOR: 2.84 95% CI: 1.81–4.46), did not eat red meat (AOR: 1.68 95% CI: 1.06–2.65), and only had seafood (AOR: 4.56 95% CI: 1.38–15.02) were more likely to be anemic as compared to their counterparts. Qualitative data revealed that any kind of meat and fruits were beyond the reach of community people due to non-affordable cost. A high percentage of women used a locally produced recreational substance known as gutka which gives them a feeling of wellbeing and suppresses hunger. Conclusion In our study population, lack of access to diversity of food items, illiteracy, and use of gutka are the statistically significant factors which are associated with anemia in married women of this coastal slum area. The lack of demand for diversity in food is related to poverty and preference of spending money on gutka.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0276893
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume17
Issue number10 October
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022

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