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The epidemiology of undernutrition and its determinants in children under five years in Ghana
Authors: Boah M, Azupogo F, Amporfro DA, and Abada LA
Source: PLOS ONE , 14(7): e0219665; DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0219665
Topic(s): Child health
Children under five
Country: Africa
Published: JUL 2019
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Understanding the burden and contextual risk factors is critical for developing appropriate interventions to control undernutrition. METHODS: This study used data from the 2014 Ghana Demographic and Health Survey to estimate the prevalence of underweight, stunting, and wasting. Single multiple logistic regressions were used to identify the factors associated with underweight, wasting and stunting. The study involved 2720 children aged 0-59 months old and mother pairs. All analyses were done in STATA/IC version 15.0. Statistical significance was set at p<0.05. RESULTS: The prevalence of underweight, wasting and stunting were 10.4%, 5.3%, and 18.4% respectively. The age of the child was associated with underweight, wasting and stunting, whereas the sex was associated with wasting and stunting. Normal or overweight/obese maternal body mass index category, high woman's autonomy and middle-class wealth index were associated with a lower odds of undernutrition. The factors that were associated with a higher odds of child undernutrition included: low birth weight (<2.5 kg), minimum dietary diversity score (MDDS), a higher (=4th) birth order number of child, primary educational level of husband/partner and domicile in the northern region of Ghana. CONCLUSION: There is still a high burden of child undernutrition in Ghana. The age, sex, birth weight, birth order and the MDDS of the child were the immediate factors associated with child undernutrition. The intermediate factors that were associated with child undernutrition were mainly maternal related factors and included maternal nutritional status and autonomy. Distal level factors which were associated with a higher odds of child undernutrition were the wealth index of the household, paternal educational status and region of residence. We recommend that interventions and policies for undernutrition should address socioeconomic inequalities at the community level while factoring in women empowerment programmes.