Prevalence of Underweight and Associated Factors among Children Aged 6 to 59 Months in Areka Town, Wolaita Zone, Southern Ethiopia

Dereje Desalegn


Background: Underweight remains one of the most common causes of morbidity and mortality among children in low-income countries. Over two-thirds of these deaths, which are often associated with inappropriate feeding practices, occur during the first five years of life. The study was to assess the prevalence of malnutrition and associated factors among children aged 6 to 59 months in Areka town, Wolaita Zone, Southern Ethiopia.Methods: A community based cross-sectional survey design was used among randomly selected 379 children and their mothers / care givers (mothers-child pair). Socio- demographic data were collected using an interviewer administered pretested structured questionnaire. Moreover, anthropometric data were collected using digital weight scale, length and height boards. Data were entered in EPI-info Version 3.5.2 and then exported to SPSS version 21.0.  The World Health Organization (WHO) anthros software was used to analyze   anthropometric data to determine Z-score.  Both descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyze the data.  Odds ratio along with 95% CI was estimated to identify factors associated with child underweight using multivariable logistic regression. The level of statistical significance was declared at p –value less - than 0.05.Results: - The prevalence of underweight was 13.5%. In multivariable logistic regression analysis having no formal education [(AOR=5.7, 95%CI= (1.9-16.7)] was associated with underweight. Having large family size (7+) was associated with underweight [(AOR=7.9, 95%CI=2.7-17.6)]. Mother’s occupation (being unemployed) [(AOR=4.5, 95%CI= (1.8-11.2)], child’s age (6-36 months) [(AOR=2.2, 95%CI= (1.08-4.8)] were also found to be factors associated with underweight.Conclusion: The prevalence of child underweight was found to be moderate   in the study area.  Educational status of mothers, family size, dietary diversity score, and occupation of mother and age of the child remain key risk factors for underweight. Therefore; immediate interventions targeted to community management of acute malnutrition might be appropriate to manage underweight which is an indication of acute malnutrition in the study area.

Keywords: underweight, malnutrition, under five children

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3208 ISSN (Online)2225-093X

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