Prevalence of stunting and associated factors among children aged 6 to 59 months in Areka town, Wolaita Zone, Southern Ethiopia

Dereje Desalegn


Malnutrition remains one of the most common causes of morbidity and mortality among children in low-income countries. Over two-thirds of these deaths, which are often associated with inappropriate feeding practices, occur during the first five years of life. Stunting is also, underlying cause of 57% of child deaths and persist as major public health problems in Ethiopia. Nonetheless, little is known about the magnitude and factors associated with Stunting among children aged 6 to 59 months across all corners of Ethiopia. So we were interested to assess the prevalence of stunting and associated factors among children aged 6 to 59 months in Areka town,Wolaita Zone, Southern Ethiopia. A community based cross-sectional survey design was used among randomly selected 379 children and their mothers / care givers (mothers-child pair). Socio- demographic data were collected using an interviewer administered pretested structured questionnaire. Moreover, anthropometric data were collected using digital weight scale, length and height boards. Data were entered in EPI-info Version 3.5.2 and then exported to SPSS version 21.0.  The World Health Organization (WHO) anthros software was used to analyze   anthropometric data to determine Z-score.  Both descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyze the data.  Odds ratio along with 95% CI was estimated to identify factors associated with child underweight using multivariable logistic regression. The level of statistical significance was declared at p –value less - than 0.05. The prevalence of underweight was 13.5%. Having large family size (7+) was associated with underweight [(AOR=7.9, 95%CI=2.7-17.6)].  Mother’s occupation (being unemployed)   [(AOR=4.5, 95%CI= (1.8-11.2)] and child’s age (6-36 months) [(AOR=2.2, 95%CI= (1.08-4.8)] were found to be factors associated with underweight. The prevalence of child stunting in this study was found to be moderate   in the study area.  Therefore; immediate interventions targeted to community management of acute malnutrition might be appropriate to manage underweight in the study area.

Keywords :   stunting  Areka town, children


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