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Why are our children wasting: Determinants of wasting among under 5s in Ghana
Authors: Darteh EKM, Acquah E, and Darteh F
Source: Nutrition and Health, 23(3):159-166. doi: 10.1177/0260106017722924
Topic(s): Child health
Country: Africa
Published: SEP 2017
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Wasting is one of the indicators of malnutrition known to contribute to the deaths occurring from childhood malnutrition. It is the measure of body mass in relation to body length used to explain recent nutritional status. AIM: This paper examines the determinants of wasting among under 5s in Ghana. METHOD: Data were drawn from the 2014 Ghana Demographic and Health Survey children's records file to examine the determinants of wasting among children. A total of 2720 children under 5 years with valid anthropometric data were used. Data on wasting were collected by measuring the weight and height of all children under 5 years of age. Bi-variate and multi-variate statistics are used to examine the determinants of wasting. RESULTS: The bi-variate analysis showed significant differences ( p < 0.001) in the prevalence of wasting among under 5s according to age of the child, region, and wealth status. On the other hand, the multi-variate analysis revealed that the odds of wasting were lower among children aged 24-35 months (Odds ratio (OR) = 0.37; p < 0.001), those from households of the middle wealth quintile (OR = 0.49, p < 0.05) and with health insurance (OR = 0.70; p < 0.10). CONCLUSIONS: Programmes and policies aimed at ensuring the survival of children during the first 24 months of life should be strengthened to reduce the risk of wasting among under 5s. Also, efforts should be made by the relevant government agencies and other stakeholders to strengthen the socio-economic status of mothers to enable them to provide adequate nutrition and improve access to health insurance for their children in order to reduce the incidence of wasting among these children. KEYWORDS: Ghana; Wasting; children; predictors; under 5s