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The University of Southampton
Economic, Social and Political Sciences

PGR Student Presentation: Modelling child under-nutrition in Malawi Seminar

23 September 2011
Building 57 Room 1039 Highfield Campus Southampton University

Event details

Social Statistics and Demography Seminar Series

The levels of child under-nutrition in Malawi are very with stunting estimated at 48% and underweight at 22%. The expected level of stunting and that of underweight for a well nourished population is 2% (ORC Macro, 2006). Continued understanding of the important factors that are associated with child under-nutrition in Malawi is therefore vital for the problem of child under-nutrition to be addressed.

This research uses the 2004 Malawi Demographic and Health Survey and employs multilevel logistic regression to exploit the hierarchical structure of the data set, analyse the extent of the variation of under-nutrition across communities and understand the important factors associated with stunting and under-weight in Malawi. Considering that child under-nutrition varies by child's age, age-group specific multivariate analysis is also undertaken to fully examine the differences of factors associated with child under-nutrition across different age groups.

The multilevel logistic regression results confirms the findings of previous studies that factors at child level e.g. size at birth, child?s health status, household level e.g. household wealth status and community level e.g. ethnicity are important in determining a child's nutritional status. It further reveals that stunting is affected more by community factors than under-weight is. Age-group specific multivariate analysis brings out interesting findings; amongst those aged between 7 to 18 months, children that are given vitamin A supplementation are less likely to be underweight compared to those that aren't, those of birth order three are less likely to be underweight compared to those of birth order one and children from households with three or more children under the age of five are more likely to be underweight than those from households where they are the only child aged under the age of five.

Amongst children aged 37 months or more, children whose preceding birth interval is 49 months or more are less likely to be stunted compared to children whose birth interval is 9 to 24 months. Source of drinking water emerges as an important factor for children's stunting for those aged 37 months or more and underweight status for children aged 6 months or less.

Orc Macro (2006). Nutrition of Young Children and Mothers in Malawi: findings from the 2004 Malawi Demographic and Health Survey.

Speaker information

Lana Chikhungu, University of Southampton,Postgraduate research student

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