Empirical evidence on the impacts of household poverty and other socio-demographic factors regarding child undernutrition is essential in targeting resources appropriately to raise the health of the poor and most vulnerable groups. There is a paucity of such evidence in Ethiopia. The present study identified urban-rural differences in the magnitude and determinants of under-five child undernutrition in Ethiopia. Complete anthropometric data for 9,472 under-five children were obtained from the 2011 Ethiopian Demographic and Health Survey dataset. Undernutrition is measured by using underweight as the key outcome variable. The 2006 World Health Organization growth standards are used to calculate underweight. Bivariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were done to see the strength of association. The magnitude of underweight was observed to be 32.7% [95%CI = (31.7, 33.6)] among rural children and 15.8% [95%CI = (15.1, 16.5)] among urban. Multivariate analyses showed that living in urban of Tigray and Somali regions, poor household wealth status and lack of toilet facility were the urban determinants of child underweight in Ethiopia, whereas living in rural of Gambela and Harari regions, child age of 2 and over, mother’s age at first birth being 18 and under, poor and medium household wealth status and child did not take drugs for intestinal parasites in the last six months were factors independently associated with child underweight in the rural of Ethiopia. In conclusion, the study highlighted that special attention needs to be given to policies aimed at reducing underweight based on the magnitude and nature of factors, such as poverty, early marriage, child age, anti-helmentic drugs, toilet facilities and regional characteristics.
Key words: Children, Ethiopia, undernutrition.
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