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Socio-Economic Disparities in Under-Five Child Malnutrition in Nigeria

Oluwabukola O. Adesuyi, Urbanus M. Urbanus M. Kioko and Martine O. Oleche

Global Journal of Health Science, 2021, vol. 13, issue 9, 76

Abstract: INTRODUCTION- Recent attention over the health, wellbeing and nutritional intake of children below five years of age has grown tremendously. This is mainly because these years are crucial to a child’s survival, growth and development; and if not handled properly could unfavorably affect the well-being status and efficiency of the child in later adult life. The study focused on malnutrition of children under the age of five in relation to their socio-economic status. It was measured by stunting, wasting and underweight. METHODOLOGY- Data from the Living Standards Measurement Study (LSMS)/General Household Survey (GHS) 2015/2016 Nigeria was used for analysis. Malnutrition was measured using the three anthropometric measures which are expressed in terms of Z-scores namely- Stunting- height-for-age (HAZ), Wasting- weight-for-height (WHZ) and Underweight- weight-for-age (WAZ). The socioeconomic disparities in malnutrition were checked according to gender, place of residence and geo-political zones in Nigeria. While the concentration index and curves were used to check for the magnitude of inequality in malnutrition ascribable to the socio-economic status. RESULTS- The percentage of children stunted was the highest with 37.8 percent, followed by the percentage of children underweight to be 20.25 and children wasted was 9.63 percent. The percentage of stunting, wasting and underweight were considerably greater in male children compare to the female children. Stunting and underweight were responsive to the household socioeconomic status. A higher percentage of children below five years of age who were stunted, wasted and underweight lived in the rural areas of Nigeria compare to the children living in the urban areas. The rate of stunting was highest in the North West with a 52.91 percent, followed by North East with 43 percent, and lowest in the South South with 20.67 percent. The concentration indices analysis revealed that stunting, wasting and underweight all had negative signs signifying concentration among the poor household children. Finally, as one moves up the ladder of the socioeconomic status, a significant fall in the rate of stunting is witnessed. Therefore, increasing the income of the poorest in a society is a sound strategy to curb the high rates of stunting in the socio-economically deprived segments of the country.

Date: 2021
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