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Trends in child growth failure among children under five years of age in Ethiopia: Evidence from the 2000 to 2016 Demographic and Health Surveys
Authors: Tolesa Bekele, Patrick Rawstorne, and Bayzidur Rahman
Source: PLOS ONE , DOI:
Topic(s): Child health
Child height
Children under five
Country: Africa
Published: AUG 2021
Abstract: Introduction In a majority of low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), levels of child growth failure (CGF) have steadily declined since 2000. However, some countries show a different trend. Despite continued investment from the government of Ethiopia as well as donors, CGF levels are still high in Ethiopia. This study aimed to assess trends in CGF and associated sociodemographic, economic and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) factors from 2000 to 2016 in Ethiopia. Methods Data were taken from four rounds of the Ethiopia Demographic and Health Survey (EDHS). Children aged between 0 to 59 months were included. CGF indicators were categorised based on height-for-age z-score (HAZ) < -2 Standard deviation (SD), weight-for-age z-score (WAZ) < -2 SD and weight-for-height z-score (WHZ) < -2 SD. CGF trends were estimated for predicted probabilities and odds ratios (ORs) between 2000 and 2016. Results A total sample size of 31978 for HAZ, 32045 for WAZ and 32246 for WHZ were included in the current study. Stunting decreased from an adjusted odds ratio (AOR) = 0.77 (95% CI: 0.67 to 0.88) in 2005 to an AOR = 0.45 (95% CI: 0.39 to 0.53) in 2016 compared with the year 2000. Compared with data in 2000, underweight decreased from an AOR of 0.70 (95% CI: 0.61 to 0.80) in 2005 to an AOR of 0.43 (95% CI: 0.36 to 0.50) in 2016. Wasting declined from an AOR of 0.91 (95% CI: 0.75 to 1.10) in 2005 to an AOR of 0.76 (95% CI: 0.61 to 0.94) in 2016, compared with data in 2000. Conclusions Between 2000 to 2016, there was a decline in CGF levels albeit the levels are still relatively high compared with the World Health Organization (WHO) cut-off levels for public health concern. Observed rates of change varied across sociodemographic, economic and WASH factors which suggest that interventions tailored towards addressing the imbalances across those factors are required.