Journal of
Public Health and Epidemiology

  • Abbreviation: J. Public Health Epidemiol.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2316
  • DOI: 10.5897/JPHE
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 653

Full Length Research Paper

Demographic, cultural and environmental factors associated with frequency and severity of malnutrition among Zambian children less than five years of age

Selestine H. Nzala1, Seter Siziya1*, Olusegun Babaniyi2, Peter Songolo2, Adamson S. Muula3 and Emmanuel Rudatsikira4
1Department of Public Health, School of Medicine, University of Zambia, Lusaka, Zambia. 2World Health Organization Country Office, Lusaka, Zambia. 3Department of Community Health, University of Malawi, College of Medicine, Blantyre, Malawi. 4School of Community and Environmental Health, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia, United States of America.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 15 June 2011
  •  Published: 31 August 2011


Under-nutrition prevents growth and development in children and is the leading factor to illness and death among children less than five years of age in developing countries. The objective of the study was to determine associations of demographic, cultural and environmental factors with frequency and severity of malnutrition among children less than five years of age in Zambia. We used data from the Zambia multiple indicator cluster survey (MICS) from years of 1999 to 2000. Altogether 6,142 children participated in the survey. The prevalence rates for being "underweight", "stunted" and "wasted" were 17.6, 37.5 and 4.1%, respectively. Compared to children from Western province, those from Luapula, Northern, and North-West provinces were more likely to be underweight. Children from Lusaka, Southern, Copperbelt, Eastern, and Central provinces were less likely to be underweight compared to those from Western province. Other factors associated with children malnutrition included sex, low educational level of householder and mother, poverty, vaccination status and type of toilet. The data acquired in this study may be used in developing interventions to prevent and mitigate children malnutrition. Special attention may have to be given to the provinces where children are more likely to suffer from malnutrition.


Key words: Malnutrition, underweight, stunted, wasted, children under 5 years of age, Zambia.