Madagascar is among countries where the prevalence of stunting is dramatically high in under 5 children. This study investigated the determinants of child stunting according to the UNICEF framework on the causes of malnutrition.
By using the latest Demographic and Health Survey (2009), logistic regressions were performed to determine the variables associated with stunting. A cut-off at 24 months was used to separate the population into two groups.
In 2009, 40.1% of the 1863 children aged 0-23 months (AG1) and 53.9% of the 2911 children aged 24-59 months (AG2) were stunted contributing to the 48.5% total stunting prevalence. Girls were less likely to be stunted (OR=0.694 and 0.843) than boys and the risk of stunting increased with age. Anemic children were more likely to be stunted (OR=3.554 for severe anemia in AG1 and OR=1.796 for moderate anemia in AG2). Regarding underlying predictors, currently breastfed children (OR=0.671) and children living in households using iodized salt (OR=0.760 for salt containing at least 15 ppm of iodine) had lower risk of stunting in AG1. Increased number of household members (OR=1.067) and lower wealth index were associated with higher risk of stunting in AG2. Children living in urban areas were less likely to be stunted in both age groups (OR=0.699 and 0.733 respectively). Region of residence was also a significant basic factor for stunting.
This study contributes to the understanding of the determinants of child stunting in Madagascar and the results confirmed the need for separate interventions for the two age groups.