The objective of this study was to assess prevalence and associated factors of stunting among less than 24 months children in East Wollega Zone, West Ethiopia.
A community based cross-sectional study design using two-stage cluster sampling survey was conducted on 593 households from April to May, 2014 in three randomly selected districts of East Wollega Zone to assess factors associated with stunting. A structured and pre-tested questionnaire was used to obtain information on demographic and socio economics characteristics, feeding practices, dietary diversity and anthropometric measurement of children aged less than two years. Binary logistic regression models was used to identify significant predictors of stunting at P<0.05.
Prevalence of stunting and severe stunting were 15.7% (95% CI: 12.7-18.7) and 0.3% (95%CI: 0.1-0.5) for children aged between 6-23 months. Stunting was associated with illiterate mothers (AOR = 3.84; 95% CI 1.49-9.91) and nonexclusive breast feeding (AOR = 2.12; 95% CI 1.19-7.79). Children who consumed vegetables and fruits (AOR =0.51; 95%CI 0.28-0.95) and boiling drinking water (AOR = 0.61, 95% CI: 0.39 – 0.97) were significantly reduced odds of being stunted. High dietary diversity scores (DDS) was associated with reduced the risk of being stunted compared to low dietary diversity scores (COR = 0.51; 95%CI: 0.26-0.99). However; the other important determinant factors (age, sex, wealth index, low birth weight, birth order and family size) were not associated with stunting in the study area (P>0.05).
The prevalence rate of stunting in the study area was found low. Stunting was significantly associated with the illiterate mothers and non-exclusive breastfeeding practice. Thus, an organized effort should be made at all levels to improve maternal education and exclusive breastfeeding practice of the poor rural population particularly mothers to curb the problems of chronic undernutrition (stunting) in children, especially in the first two years of life.Keywords: Stunting, Under two years children, Western Ethiopia