Undernutrition is a leading cause of child mortality, especially among indigenous peoples worldwide. Understanding associated predictors is essential for mitigation strategies. This review was undertaken to identify existing literature on the determinants of undernutrition among under-five indigenous children in developing countries, and to reveal existing knowledge gaps. Using relevant terms, we searched for relevant literature from PubMed, Medline, Scopus, and Google scholar databases, WHO and UNICEF websites, and reference lists of included studies from 2009 to 2019. Of the 10 records that met the eligibility criteria, 4, 3, 2, and 1, were conducted in Brazil, India, Guatemala and Malaysia, respectively. Seven were cross-sectional, studies, 2 were population-based studies and 1 a mixed-method studies. All studies included under-five children, ranging in sample size from 74 to 6075. Regarding anthropometric indicators, study 1 focused on anaemia, 2 on wasting, 3 on underweight, and 8 focused on stunting. Factors associated with undernutrition were maternal educational status, maternal stunting, health care seeking behaviour, child age, child sex, child morbidity status, socio-economic status, inadequate water quality, hygiene and sanitation conditions. These results are relevant in informing undernutrition-reduction policies and interventions among indigenous populations in developing countries. The study revealed a paucity of research, particularly, in Africa where no study was identified.
Key words: Under nutrition, risk factors, under-five children, indigenous, developing countries.
UNICEF, United Nations International Children’s Educational Fund; WHO, World Health Organization; SDG, sustainable development goals; CI, confidence interval; OR, odd ratio; AOR, adjusted odd ratio; PR, prevalence ration; WASH, water, sanitation and hygiene.
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