Trends and patterns of stunted only and stunted-underweight children in Malawi: a confirmation for child nutrition practitioners to continue focusing on stunting

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Abstract

Aim: To analyse the trends and patterns of stunted only and stunted-underweight children in Malawi between the 2000 and 2015.

Methods: The study used the 2000 and 2015 Malawi Demographic and Health Survey data and employed bivariate and multivariate statistical analysis techniques to explore the difference in the levels of stunted only and stunted-underweight children and key socio-economic factors between 2000 and 2015 and identify key attributes of being stunted only and being stunted-underweight.

Results: The percentage of stunted only was 37.2% in 2000 and 26.8% in 2015 and the stunted-underweight percentage was 14.5% in 2000 and 8.8% in 2015. Out of the 6.9% children classified as wasted, 2.4% were also underweight and stunted, 2.4% were underweight and 2.1% did not have any other forms of undernutrition. The analysis did not identify any children that were both stunted and wasted. Only 0.7% in 2000 and 0.4% in 2015 were underweight and free of any other forms of undernutrition. There were improvements in mother education level and mother weight during this time-period which may explain the improvements in child nutritional status.

Conclusion: The most common form of undernutrition is stunting and nearly all children that are underweight are also stunted. Child nutrition practitioners and health professionals should consider focusing on tackling child stunting.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMalawi Medical Journal
Publication statusAccepted for publication - 21 Mar 2022

Keywords

  • child under-nutrition
  • stunting
  • stunted-underweight
  • underweight
  • Malawi
  • multilevel

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