Publications Summary

Document Type
Methodological Reports
Publication Topic(s)
Child Health and Development, Nutrition
Recommended Citation
Assaf, Shireen, Monica T. Kothari, and Thomas Pullum. 2015. An Assessment of the Quality of DHS Anthropometric Data, 2005-2014. DHS Methodological Reports No. 16. Rockville, Maryland, USA: ICF International.
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Publication Date
September 2015
Publication ID


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This methodological report examines the quality of anthropometric data from 52 DHS surveys conducted between 2005 and 2014. The analysis includes height, weight, and age measurements of children under five years of age as well as three nutritional status indices—height-for-age (HAZ), weight-for-age (WAZ), and weight-for-height (WHZ)—that follow WHO guidelines. The data quality indicators used to investigate the measurements include: standard deviation of z-scores; heaping of measures of height, weight, and age; and the percentage of extreme cases flagged during data processing. In addition, linear regressions of the z- scores were conducted to examine the amount of heterogeneity in z-scores that can be explained by covariates, including cluster- level variation. The findings identified surveys that have outperformed others in terms of anthropometric data quality along with surveys that have been deficient in data quality. Based on the results, recommendations were made that will improve the quality of anthropometric data in future surveys.


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