Effects of dietary and health factors on nutritional status of children under pastoral settings in Borana, southern Ethiopia, August–October 2015
Background: Childhood undernourishment is a serious public health problem globally, and being responsible for higher mortalities in children and enormous health costs in sub-Saharan Africa. However, scarcity of data on the magnitude of malnutrition and underlying causes especially in the pastoral system limits the effectiveness of potential interventions. This study was intended to investigate the nutritional status and associated factors among children in Borana pastoral system, southern
... tem, southern Ethiopia.Methods: A community based cross-sectional study, using multistage cluster sampling, was conducted from August to October 2015. Dietary diversity score (DDS), milk and meal frequencies, anthropometric measurements, and socio-economic variables were recorded for 538 children aged 6 – 59 months. Multivariable generalized linear model (GLM) with log link function was applied to ascertain determinants of malnutrition. The strength of association was assessed with prevalence ratio (PR). Results: Underweight, stunting, and wasting was prevalent in 28.3% (95% CI: 24.4, 32.1), 41.1% (95% CI: 36.7, 45.1), and 9.8% (95% CI: 7.3, 12.4) of the children, respectively. Children who consumed more diverse foods were at lower risk of being underweight (PR=0.72, 95%CL: 0.59–0.88), stunted (PR=0.80, 95%CL: 0.68–0.93) and wasted (PR=0.42, 95%CL: 0.27–0.66) compared to others. Intake of increased milk frequency was also associated with lower risk of underweight (PR=0.86, 95%CL: 0.76–0.97), stunting (PR=0.83, 95%CL: 0.75–0.91) and wasting (PR=0.73, 95%CL: 0.56–0.96). The risk of underweight (PR=1.02, 95%CL: 1.01–1.03) stunting (PR=1.01, 95%CL: 1.00–1.02), and wasting (PR=1.01, 95%CL: 1.00–1.04) was significantly increased with age whilst no difference was observed between boys and girls. Children who lived far away from health care facilities were 1.2 and 1.4 times more likely to be stunted and wasted than those residing nearby. Ownership of toilet and living close to market were associated with reduced stunting while illness was associated with increased risk of underweight. Conclusion: The high prevalence of stunting among pastoral children is a serious public health concern, and calls for urgent action. Association of nutritional status with dietary intake, health status, access to health services and toilet availability underlines the need for improved feeding practices, health care and sanitary conditions in the pastoral community.