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Prevalence and associated factors of stunting among primary school children in Eastern Ethiopia

Authors Mesfin F, Berhane Y, Worku A

Received 12 January 2015

Accepted for publication 8 May 2015

Published 18 September 2015 Volume 2015:7 Pages 61—68


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Chandrika Piyathilake

Firehiwot Mesfin,1 Yemane Berhane,2 Alemayehu Worku2,3

1Department of Public Health, College of Health and Medical Sciences, Haramaya University, Harar, Ethiopia; 2Addis Continental Institute of Public Health, 3School of Public Health, Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Background: Stunting is a serious impediment to child survival and developing a full learning capacity. Despite several decades of efforts, stunting remained a major public health concern in Ethiopia. Thus, periodic assessment of the factors associated with stunting is imperative.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among school-age children in Eastern Ethiopia. Anthropometric measurements were taken according to the World Health Organization standard procedures. A child was identified as stunted if height-for-age z score is <−2 standard deviations of the median of the reference population. A binary logistic regression model was used to identify factors associated with stunting. Clustering of stunting within schools was controlled during analysis using cluster option in STATA syntax.
Results: The prevalence of stunting among school-aged children was 8.9% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 7.6–10.3); of which 2% had severe stunting. The risk of stunting was 1.71 times greater for children born to working mothers than those born to housewives (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] =1.71; 95% CI: 1.08–2.72). Those children whose families did not use a bed net in their home were 1.76 times more likely to be stunted as children than those whose families used insecticide-treated nets (AOR =1.76; 95% CI: 1.22–2.52). Moreover, the risk of stunting was 1.59 times greater for children who had suffered from illness within the last 2 weeks than children who were apparently healthy (AOR =1.59; 95% CI: 1.04–2.40). On the other hand, the risk of stunting was 30% lower for children born to an older mother than a younger one.
Conclusion: Stunting, which is indicative of chronic malnutrition, was 8.9% among school-aged children in Kersa, Ethiopia. It was associated with maternal working status, maternal age, child morbidity status, and not using insecticide-treated nets at the household level. Nutrition programs that focus on improving childhood nutrition and promoting linear growth, conducting focused public education to increase the use of mosquito net, will benefit children.

Keywords: stunting, anthropometry, school children, Kersa, Ethiopia

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