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Risk factors for stunting among children under five years: a cross-sectional population-based study in Rwanda using the 2015 Demographic and Health Survey
Authors: Alphonse Nshimyiryo, Bethany Hedt-Gauthier, Christine Mutaganzwa, Catherine M. Kirk, Kathryn Beck, Albert Ndayisaba, Joel Mubiligi, Fredrick Kateera, and Ziad El-Khatib
Source: BMC Public Health, 19:175; DOI: 10.1186/s12889-019-6504-z
Topic(s): Birth weight
Child health
Children under five
Country: Africa
Published: FEB 2019
Abstract: Background Child growth stunting remains a challenge in sub-Saharan Africa, where 34% of children under 5?years are stunted, and causing detrimental impact at individual and societal levels. Identifying risk factors to stunting is key to developing proper interventions. This study aimed at identifying risk factors of stunting in Rwanda. Methods We used data from the Rwanda Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) 2014–2015. Association between children’s characteristics and stunting was assessed using logistic regression analysis. Results A total of 3594 under 5?years were included; where 51% of them were boys. The prevalence of stunting was 38% (95% CI: 35.92–39.52) for all children. In adjusted analysis, the following factors were significant: boys (OR 1.51; 95% CI 1.25–1.82), children ages 6–23?months (OR 4.91; 95% CI 3.16–7.62) and children ages 24–59?months (OR 6.34; 95% CI 4.07–9.89) compared to ages 0–6?months, low birth weight (OR 2.12; 95% CI 1.39–3.23), low maternal height (OR 3.27; 95% CI 1.89–5.64), primary education for mothers (OR 1.71; 95% CI 1.25–2.34), illiterate mothers (OR 2.00; 95% CI 1.37–2.92), history of not taking deworming medicine during pregnancy (OR 1.29; 95%CI 1.09–1.53), poorest households (OR 1.45; 95% CI 1.12–1.86; and OR 1.82; 95%CI 1.45–2.29 respectively). Conclusion Family-level factors are major drivers of children’s growth stunting in Rwanda. Interventions to improve the nutrition of pregnant and lactating women so as to prevent low birth weight babies, reduce poverty, promote girls’ education and intervene early in cases of malnutrition are needed.