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Association between socio-economic status and childhood undernutrition in Bangladesh; a comparison of possession score and poverty index
Authors: Mohsena M, Mascie-Taylor CG, Goto R.
Source: Public Health Nutrition, Oct;13(10):1498-504. doi: 10.1017/S1368980010001758. Epub 2010 Jun 25.
Topic(s): Child health
Country: Asia
Published: OCT 2010
Abstract: OBJECTIVE: To determine how much of the variation in nutritional status of Bangladeshi children under 5 years old can be attributed to the socio-economic status of the family. DESIGN: Nutritional status used reference Z-scores of weight-for-age (WAZ), height-for-age (HAZ) and weight-for-height (WHZ). A 'possession score' was generated based on ownership of a radio, television, bicycle, motorcycle and telephone, and the availability of electricity, with categories of 0 to 4+ possessions. A five-point (quintile) 'poverty index' was created using principal component analysis. SETTING: The Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey 2004 was the source of data. SUBJECTS: A sample of 4891 children aged <5 years was obtained. RESULTS: Some 57.8 % of the sample was either stunted, wasted or underweight (7.7 % were stunted, wasted and underweight). Of those stunted (48.4 %), 25.7 % were also underweight. Underweight and wasting prevalences were 40.7 % and 14.3 %, respectively. Mean WAZ, HAZ and WHZ did not differ by sex. Children of mothers with no education or no possessions were, on average, about 1 sd more underweight and stunted than those with higher educated mothers or with 4+ possessions. The possession score provided much greater discrimination of undernutrition than the poverty index. Nearly 50 % of children from households with no possessions were stunted, wasted or underweight (only 27 % in the poorest quintile), compared with only 3-6 % of children from households with 4+ possessions (over 13 % in the richest quintile). CONCLUSIONS: Maternal education and possession score were the main predictors of a child's nutritional status. Possession score was a much better indicator of undernutrition than the poverty index.