By World Bank
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Additional resources for A new agenda for women's health and nutrition
Page 13 Chapter Two An Overview of Women's Health and Nutrition Women's health status varies widely both within and among countries because of such factors as local disease prevalence, health-related behaviors, and women's educational attainment, exposure to health information, influence on decisionmaking, and access to health care. Poverty, environmental degradation, civil conflict, and migration also influence women's health. Global Trends In the developing world, women's health status is changing in response to several emerging trends.
A woman's health and nutritional status is a national as well as an individual welfare concern because it also affects the next generation, through its impact on her children and her economic productivity. Because many of the interventions that address women's health problems are highly cost-effective, any national investment strategy based on achieving the greatest health gains at the least cost will give considerable emphasis to health interventions directed at women. Special attention is warranted to reach women during adolescence, when reproductive and other lifestyle behaviors set the stage for later life.
Studies of women tea workers in Sri Lanka and cotton mill workers in China, for example, have documented the reduced productivity associated with iron deficiency and the positive effects of iron supplementation on work output (Edgerton and others 1979; Li and others 1994). Frequent pregnancies and poor health not only drain women's productive energy but also contribute to their poverty. A study in one area of India found that disability reduced the female labor force by 22 percent. In addition, illness was found to be the second highest cause of indebtednesswith especially profound effects on women because they predominate among the poor (Chatterjee 1991).
A new agenda for women's health and nutrition by World Bank