Influence of material characteristics on under-five Nutritional status in Zambia

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Bwalya, Bupe Bwalya
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Zambia has one of the highest prevalence levels of malnutrition among children 6 – 59 months of age. The UNICEF 1990, reports that one of the key reasons for high under-five malnutrition in Zambia is the low socio-economic status of women, among the many factors. Currently the 2007 Zambia Demographic and Health Survey indicated that among children under five 5.2 percent wasted, 14.6percent underweight and 45.4percent stunted.Thus, the study investigated the influence that maternal characteristics play in determining the nutrition status among under five children in Zambia by utilising data from Zambians Demographic and Health Survey of 2007 (CSO, MOH, TDRC, UNZA and Macro Inc., 2007) data. Both bivariate and Multivariate (Binary Logistic Regression) analyses were used to identify the determinants of under-five malnutrition.The analysis revealed that 5.3 percent were suffering from acute malnutrition, 15.6 percent had underweight problem and 47.1 percent from chronic malnutrition. The main contributing factors to under five malnutrition were found to be sex of the child, age in months, mother’s education, number of births in the past three years, type of employment, wealth index, Body Mass Index (BMI) and Mothers Individual Dietary Diversity Score in the 24 hours prior the survey.Therefore, this study arrives at the conclusion that, for all forms of malnutrition to be reduced to acceptable levels as per WHO recommendations, there is need for a multi-dimensional approach with specific emphasis on programs that look at income generating activities most especially for rural women in order to improve both food and nutrition security at personal and household levels. In addition, there is need for improved education that also includes appropriate child care practices for women in reproductive age groups. Moreover, in-spite the food and nutrition policy being available, there is need for a multi-sectoral food and nutrition strategic plan which will improve policy synergies among the key players in this sector
Nutrition , Children-Nutrition-Zambia , Infants-Nutrition-Zambia