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Associations of Rainfall with Childhood Under-nutrition in Rwanda: An Ecological Study using the Data from Rwanda Meteorology Agency and the 2010 Demographic and Health Survey
Authors: Assumpta Mukabutera, Jamie I. Forrest, Laetitia Nyirazinyoye, Habimana Marcelin, and Paulin Basinga
Source: Asian Journal of Agricultural and Food Sciences, 4(1): 35-45
Topic(s): Child health
Children under five
Country: Africa
Published: FEB 2016
Abstract: Seasonality of weather and climate can affect many of the complex pathways of nutrition. Methods: Using Rwanda demographic and health survey (RDHS) and precipitation measurements collected in 2009-2010; we assessed the association between rainfall and childhood malnutrition: stunting, underweight and wasting. Childhood under-nutritional status was assessed by Z-scores for weight-for-age (WAZ), weight-for-height (WHZ) and height-for-age (HAZ), as primary outcomes for this analysis. A total of 4176 children under five years were included in the analysis. The prevalence of underweight was 11.4%, stunting was 44% and wasting was 3%. After adjusting potential confounders (mother’s BMI, mother’s education, residence and wealth indices), children residing in the area with high rainfall were more likely to be stunted (OR=1.58; 95%CI=1.28,1.96; p<0.001) while children in the area with moderate and high quantity of rain were less likely to be wasted (OR=0.50; 95%CI=0.31,0.82; p=0.006 and OR=0.34; 95%CI=0.20,0.58; p<0.001 respectively). Rainfall patterns may affect the nutritional status (under-nutrition) of children under five years of age. Estimating the effect of rainfall on malnutrition may help to better predict regions of vulnerability to under-nutrition. we suggest further study for more information about the mechanism of this association. Keywords Malnutrition; Under-nutrition; Child under five; sub-Saharan Africa; Rwanda; DHS; climate; rainfall