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01.12.2018 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2018 Open Access

BMC Public Health 1/2018

Determinants of child anthropometric indicators in Ethiopia

BMC Public Health > Ausgabe 1/2018
Davod Ahmadi, Ekta Amarnani, Akankasha Sen, Narges Ebadi, Patrick Cortbaoui, Hugo Melgar-Quiñonez



Malnutrition is one of the major contributors to child mortality in Ethiopia. Currently established, child nutrition status is assessed by four anthropometric indicators. However, there are other factors affecting children’s anthropometric statuses. Thus, the main objective of this paper is to explore some of the determinants of child anthropometric indicators in Ethiopia.


Data from GROW (the Growing Nutrition for Mothers and Children), a survey including 1261 mothers and 1261 children was carried out in Ethiopia in 2016. Based on the data gathered, the goal of GROW is to improve the nutritional status of women of reproductive age (15–49), as well as boys and girls under 5 years of age in Ethiopia. In order to investigate the association between different factors and child anthropometric indicators, this study employs various statistical methods, such as ANOVA, T-test, and linear regressions.


Child’s sex (confidence intervals for (wasting = − 0.782, − 0.151; stunting = − 0.936,-0.243) (underweight = − 0.530, − 0.008), child’s age (confidence intervals for (wasting = − 0.020, 0.007; stunting = − 0.042,-0.011) (underweight = − 0.025, − 0.002), maternal MUAC (confidence intervals for (wasting = 0.189, 0.985; BMI-for-age = 0.077, 0.895), maternal education (stunting = 0.095, 0.897; underweight = 0.120, 0.729), and open defecation (stunting = 0.055, 0.332; underweight = 0.042, 0.257) were found to be significantly associated with anthropometric indicators. Contrary to some findings, maternal dietary diversity does not present significance in aforementioned child anthropometric indicators.


Depending on the choice of children anthropometric indicator, different conclusions were drawn demonstrating the association between each factor to child nutritional status. Results showed child’s sex, age, region, open defecation, and maternal MUAC significantly increases the risk of child anthropometric indicators. Highlighting the factors influencing child undernutrition will help inform future policies and programs designed to approach this major problem in Ethiopia.
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