Early feeding practices and stunting in Rwandan children: a cross-sectional study from the 2010 Rwanda demographic and health survey
Introduction: in Rwanda, despite different interventions to improve child nutrition status, malnutrition in children under five years of age continue to be a public health concern. This study aimed to evaluate the factors that contribute to childhood stunting by assessing feeding practices of Rwandans in children ≤ 2 years of age. Methods: A cross-sectional study with data obtained from the 2010 Rwanda Demographic and Health Survey was conducted on 1,634 children ≤ 2 years of age with complete anthropometrical measurements. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was used to assess the association between feeding practices and childhood stunting. Results: The results revealed that 35.1% of 1,634 children were stunted. Breastfeeding for 1 year (OR = 2.77, 95% CI = 1.91-4.01, P < 0.001) increased the risk of childhood stunting. After controlling for confounders, solid food initiation (OR = 1.21, 95% CI = 0.47-3.16, P≥ 0.690) and early initiation to breastfeeding (OR = 1.16, CI = 0.90-1.51, P = 0.243) were not associated with childhood stunting. Conclusion: There was a significant association between continued breastfeeding for 1 year and childhood stunting. We suggest supplementary feeding for children who are breastfed for ≥1 year.