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Seasonal variation of child under nutrition in Malawi: is seasonal food availability an important factor? Findings from a national level cross-sectional study

Seasonal variation of child under nutrition in Malawi: is seasonal food availability an important factor? Findings from a national level cross-sectional study
Seasonal variation of child under nutrition in Malawi: is seasonal food availability an important factor? Findings from a national level cross-sectional study
Background

Child under nutrition is an underlying factor in millions of under-five child deaths and poor cognitive development worldwide. Whilst many studies have examined the levels and factors associated with child under nutrition in different settings, very little has been written on the variation of child under nutrition across seasons. This study explored seasonal food availability and child morbidity as influences of child nutritional status in Malawi.

Methods

The study used the 2004 Malawi Integrated Household Survey data. Graphical analysis of the variation of child under nutrition, child morbidity and food availability across the 12 months of the year was undertaken to display seasonal patterns over the year. Multivariate analysis was used to explore the importance of season after controlling for well-established factors that are known to influence a child's nutritional status.

Results

A surprising finding is that children were less likely to be stunted and less likely to be underweight in the lean cropping season (September to February) compared to the post-harvest season (March to August). The odds ratio for stunting were 0.80 (0.72, 0.90) and the odds ratio for underweight were 0.77 (0.66, 0.90). The season when child under nutrition levels were high coincided with the period of high child morbidity in line with previous studies. Children that were ill in the two weeks prior to survey were more likely to be underweight compared to children that were not ill 1.18 (1.01, 1.38).

Conclusion

In Malawi child nutritional status varies across seasons and follows a seasonal pattern of childhood illness but not that of household food availability.
malawi, stunting, underweight, seasonal variation, child under nutrition, child morbidity, food availability
1471-2458
1146
Chikhungu, Lana Clara
db8d9e7a-183e-49aa-aa84-0ff3f0cbb86d
Madise, Nyovani Janet
2ea2fbcc-50da-4696-a0a5-2fe01db63d8c
Chikhungu, Lana Clara
db8d9e7a-183e-49aa-aa84-0ff3f0cbb86d
Madise, Nyovani Janet
2ea2fbcc-50da-4696-a0a5-2fe01db63d8c

Chikhungu, Lana Clara and Madise, Nyovani Janet (2014) Seasonal variation of child under nutrition in Malawi: is seasonal food availability an important factor? Findings from a national level cross-sectional study. BMC Public Health, 14 (1), 1146. (doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-1146). (PMID:25373873)

Record type: Article

Abstract

Background

Child under nutrition is an underlying factor in millions of under-five child deaths and poor cognitive development worldwide. Whilst many studies have examined the levels and factors associated with child under nutrition in different settings, very little has been written on the variation of child under nutrition across seasons. This study explored seasonal food availability and child morbidity as influences of child nutritional status in Malawi.

Methods

The study used the 2004 Malawi Integrated Household Survey data. Graphical analysis of the variation of child under nutrition, child morbidity and food availability across the 12 months of the year was undertaken to display seasonal patterns over the year. Multivariate analysis was used to explore the importance of season after controlling for well-established factors that are known to influence a child's nutritional status.

Results

A surprising finding is that children were less likely to be stunted and less likely to be underweight in the lean cropping season (September to February) compared to the post-harvest season (March to August). The odds ratio for stunting were 0.80 (0.72, 0.90) and the odds ratio for underweight were 0.77 (0.66, 0.90). The season when child under nutrition levels were high coincided with the period of high child morbidity in line with previous studies. Children that were ill in the two weeks prior to survey were more likely to be underweight compared to children that were not ill 1.18 (1.01, 1.38).

Conclusion

In Malawi child nutritional status varies across seasons and follows a seasonal pattern of childhood illness but not that of household food availability.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 20 October 2014
Published date: 5 November 2014
Keywords: malawi, stunting, underweight, seasonal variation, child under nutrition, child morbidity, food availability
Organisations: Social Sciences

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 370823
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/370823
ISSN: 1471-2458
PURE UUID: 8939663f-1d39-4f32-a507-5fc1a28f43e3
ORCID for Nyovani Janet Madise: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-2813-5295

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 07 Nov 2014 12:45
Last modified: 20 Nov 2021 18:58

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Contributors

Author: Lana Clara Chikhungu
Author: Nyovani Janet Madise ORCID iD

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