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Background: Malnutrition is associated with both under nutrition and over nutrition which causes the body to get improp- er amount of nutrients to maintain tissues and organ function. Under nutrition is the result of insufficient intake of food, poor utilization of nutrients due to illnesses, or a combination of these factors. The purpose of this study was to identify associated risk factors and assess the variation of underweight among under-five children of different regions in Ethiopia.
Methods: Ethiopian Demography and Health Survey (EDHS-2016) weight-to-age data for under-five children is used. In order to achieve the objective of this study; descriptive, single level and multilevel ordinal logistic regression analysis were used.
Results: From a total of 8935 children about 8.1% were severely underweight, 17.1% were moderately underweight and 74.8% were normal. The test of heterogeneity suggested that underweight varies among region and multilevel ordinal model fit data better than single level ordinal model.
Conclusion: Educational level of mother, religion, birth order, type of birth, sex of child, mother body mass index, birth size of child, existence of diarrhea for last two weeks before survey, existence of fever for last two weeks before survey, duration of breast feeding, age child and wealth index had significant effect on underweight among under-five children in Ethiopia. The finding revealed that among the fitted multilevel partial proportional odds model, the random intercept model with fixed coefficients is appropriate to assess the risk factors of underweight among under-five children in Ethiopia. The findings of this study have important policy implications. The government should work closely with both the private sector and civil society to teach women to have sufficient knowledge, awareness and mechanisms of improving under-five under- weight for children’s wellbeing.
Keywords: Underweight; Partial proportional odds model; Multilevel partial proportional odds model; under-five children.