Global Journal of Pure and Applied Sciences

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Factors associated with malnutrition among underfive children in developing countries: A review

R.E. Kalu, K.D. Etim


Malnutrition is a consequence of consumption of dietary nutrient either insufficiently or exclusively by especially children. The aim of this study was to carry out a review of malnutrition-dependent factors among under-five children in developing countries. The study was carried out by reviewing publications on researches on malnutrition conducted in Africa and Asia with particular reference to factors associated with malnutrition. It was found that, of the 162 million children under five years who were stunted, 36% of them resided in Africa while 56% were found in Asia. It was also observed that an estimated 60 million under-five children in developing countries were found to be stunted out of which 11 million were Nigerian children. The severity of childhood malnutrition was observed to steadily increase from
11% in 2003 to 18% in 2013 for wasting; 24% in 2003 to 29% in 2013 for underweight, although there was a decline from 42% in 2003 to 37% in 2013 for stunted children. It was observed that high rates of mortality of malnourished children in Sub-saharan Africa result from factors such as low intake of calories, high rates of Human Immuno Virus/Acquired  Immunodeficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS), political instability, conflicts  among groups and poor implementation of government policies. For instance, 50% mortality of malnourished children in Malawi, Burundi and
Madagascar were stunted as a result of poor dietary intake or poor  consumption of vital nutrient. Other major factors observed were poverty, absence of exclusive breastfeeding, maternal factors such as poor nutrition during pregnancy, lack of appropriate weight gain, poor consumption of vitamin supplement, illness, environmental factors, and socioeconomic/ household factors, all of which affect the nutritional status of children. In conclusion, governments of developing countries and the global community should work together to remove these factors.

Keywords: Malnutrition, under-five children, factors, illiteracy, poverty.
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