Prevalence and predictors of undernutrition among underfive children in Arusha District, Tanzania
Mosha, Theobald C. E.
Kimanya, Martin E.
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Childhood undernutrition is a global health challenge impacting child growth and survival rates. This deficit in nutritional status contributes to the increasing chronic disease prevalence and economic burden in individuals and throughout developing contexts. A community-based cross-sectional study was conducted in Arusha District of Tanzania to determine the prevalence and predictors of undernutrition in 436 children. A structured questionnaire was used to collect data on demographic and socio- economic factors as well as feeding practices and prevalence of preventable childhood diseases. Anthropometric data were collected through the measurement of length/height and weight of all children. The prevalence of undernutrition was estimated based on Z-scores indices below −2SD of the reference population for weight for age (underweight), height for age (stunting), and weight for height (wasting). Fifty percent, 28%, and 16.5% of the children were stunted, underweight, and wasted, respectively. The age above 2 years and being a male were associated with stunting. The age above 2 years, nonexclusive breastfeeding children, and living at Seliani and Oturumeti were associated with being underweight. Similarly, morbidity, none exclusively breastfed children, living at Oturumeti, and being born to a mother 35 years and above were associated with wasting. In this study, we found the prevalence of child undernutrition in Arusha District is high in comparison with national and regional trends and appears to be associated with being a male. It is recommended that nutritionists and health planners should focus on these key predictors when planning nutrition interventions to address the problem of undernutrition among under-five children in Arusha District.