Predictors of childhood stunting in Ghana : A cross-sectional survey of the association between stunting among children under age five and maternal bio-demographic and socioeconomic characteristics in Ghana 2014

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Abstract: Background: Stunting is impaired linear growth that occurs within the first 1000 days of life and continues later in life. It is associated with short and long term morbidity. This study aims to examine the association between stunting and maternal biodemographic and socioeconomic characteristics in children 0-59 months in Ghana.  Methodology: The study is an analysis of a nationally representative sample of households, based on the socio-ecological framework. Data was sourced from the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) conducted in 2014. Logistic regression was used to analyze 2759 children aged 0-59 months.  Results: The prevalence of stunting was 17.6%. Children 24-35 months had higher odds of stunting (OR=10.6 95% CI 5.18-21.8). Boys had higher odds than girls to be stunted (OR=1.62, 95% CI 1.21-2.17). There was an association between early initiation of breastfeeding, access to proper toilet facility, mothers’ level of education and ethnicity with stunting. Difficult access to healthcare was associated with high risk of stunting (OR=10.3, 95% CI, 1.38-76.8). Households with more than two U-5 children had higher odds of stunting (OR=1.61, 95% CI, 1.10-2.34). Conclusions: Stunting is a public health concern in Ghana. To address stunting, multisectorial interventions needs to be targeted at extending nutrition programmes to above 24 months. Nutrition interventions should prioritize early initiation of breastfeeding. Easy access to quality healthcare by strengthening the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) should be promoted. Results also suggested that it is critical to invest in free education and scale up family planning programs.

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