Malnutrition among children in Southern Ethiopia: Levels and risk factors

  • Gugsa Yimer


Using data collected in the Community and Family Survey of the Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples Region, this study estimates the level of child malnutrition and identifies the factors associated with chronic malnutrition among children in the five densely populated zones of the Region. A total of 850 children aged 3 - 36 months were included in the present study. Both bivariate and multivariate techniques were employed in order to identify risk factors of child malnutrition. The results indicate that about 45% of children are stunted, 42% underweight, and 12% wasted. The search for the factors affecting long-term nutritional status point to both socio-economic and demographic factors. Among the socio-economic factors, household economic status and women's education were important in explaining the variation in long-term nutritional status of children. From the demographic variables included in the analysis, age, preceding birth interval and number of under-five children were associated with stunting. Moreover, number of antenatal care visits the mother had during the pregnancy of the child and age at weaning are linked to chronic malnutrition. The study recommended the need for programs related to income-generating activities for poor households and family life education, including appropriate child care for women in reproductive age groups.

(Ethiopian Journal of Health Development, 2000, 14(3): 283-292)

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eISSN: 1021-6790