Journal of AIDS & Clinical Research

ISSN: 2155-6113

Open Access

Risk Factors for Undernutrition in Children under Five Years Old: Evidence from the 2011 Ghana Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey


Ronald Welaga Miah, Paschal Awingura Apanga and Zakia Abdul-Haq

Background: Undernutrition is a major public health problem affecting the physical and mental development of infants and young children in Ghana. Inadequate dietary intakes and the prevalence of infections have largely been implicated. This study was conducted to assess the risk factors for Undernutrition in Children under-five years old in Ghana.

Methods: This was a secondary data analysis of the 2011 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey which included anthropometric measurements of children under five years old. Using the modified United Nations Children's Emergency Fund conceptual framework for undernutrition, the variables of interest were extracted and classified into biological and non-biological variables. Bivariate and logistic regression analysis was conducted using SPSS 21 to identify the risk factors for stunting, underweight and wasting.

Results: The survey recruited 7,550 children, 22.7% were stunted, 13.4% were underweight and 6.2% were wasted. Child age, gender, reported size at child birth, breastfeeding status, having diarrhoea or fever in the preceding two weeks, number of children in the household, child health insurance status, household wealth, and ethnicity and religion of household health and region were risk factors for undernutrition. However, only child age and sex were risk factors for all three indicators (stunting, underweight and wasting).

Conclusion: Undernutrition in Ghana is a multi-sectorial problem largely influenced by the social determinants of health and health inequalities. To reduce the prevalence of undernutrition in Ghana, strategies and interventions should be targeted at building the capacity of health staff and strengthening existing systems. This should include intensifying public health messages on child care, integration and collaboration with key stakeholders in addressing socio-economic inequalities of households and communities as well as the regional discrepancies.


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