|Factors associated with stunting among children below five years of age in Zambia: evidence from the 2014 Zambia demographic and health survey|
||Bubile Mzumara, Phoebe Bwembya, Hikabasa Halwiindi, Raider Mugode, and Jeremiah Banda
||BMC Nutrition, 4:51; DOI: 10.1186/s40795-018-0260-9
Children under five
Stunting continues to be a major public health problem globally. Stunting is a manifestation of many factors including inadequate food intake and poor health conditions. However, poor quality nutritional diets during pregnancy, infancy and early childhood lead to inadequate nutrient intake. The prevalence of stunting in Zambia has been over 40% and remains unacceptably high. There is limited information on factors associated with stunting in Zambia. Thus to better understand factors contributing to the high stunting levels, the 2013/14 Zambia Demographic and Health Survey (ZDHS) data was analysed.
Data was extracted using a data extraction tool and analysed using Stata version 13. Sample data of 12, 328 children aged 0–59?months was analysed. The analysis involved simple and multiple logistic regression to find associations between independent variables and stunting.
The prevalence of stunting among under five children in Zambia is 40%. From the 4937 children who were stunted, stunting was higher among male children as compared to female children (42.4 and 37.6% respectively). Additional analysis revealed that children whose source of drinking water was improved (33.7%) were less likely to be stunted compared to children whose source of drinking water was poor (47.7%). Stunting was associated with sex and age of a child; mother’s age and education; residence; wealth and duration of breastfeeding. For instance, children whose mothers had higher education showed a 75% reduction of odds compared to children whose mothers had no education (AOR?=?0.35, 95%CI: 0.22, 0.54; p?0.05). Similarly, wealth status showed an inverse relationship. Children who came from rich households showed a 32% reduction of odds compared to children who came from poor households (AOR?=?0.68, 95%CI: 0.57, 0.82; p?0.05).
The study established that the major predictors of stunting among children under 5 years old in Zambia were sex and age of the child; mother’s age and level of education; wealth status; improved source of drinking water; duration of breastfeeding and residence. Therefore, multiple measures targeted at reducing child stunting should be taken in a bid to influence policy and conceiving of programmes.