Climate, Food Insecurity and Under-five Stunting in Zambia

Authors: Audrey Smith*, University of Florida
Topics: Human-Environment Geography, Africa, Global Change
Keywords: : Food security, livelihoods, sub-Saharan Africa, remote sensing, undernutrition
Session Type: Interactive Short Paper
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 5:20 PM / 7:00 PM
Room: Rampart, Sheraton, 5th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The impacts of climate change and increased variability affect people differently depending on where and how people live. In sub-Saharan Africa, poor and vulnerable populations are especially impacted due to high reliance on rain-fed agriculture and other climate-sensitive sectors. The effects of increasingly variable climate and extreme weather events such as floods and droughts threaten livelihoods, exacerbate poverty, and render households and communities susceptible to increasing food and nutrition insecurity and reduced overall population health. Food insecurity can lead to widespread undernutrition, particularly among women and children. Food insecurity and chronic undernutrition often results in stunting, or low height-for-age, among children less than five years old. The monitoring of environmental and climate conditions and change can help predict geographic areas and populations most vulnerable to food insecurity and resulting undernutrition. Satellite-derived earth observations and remote sensing applications can be combined with georeferenced demographic and health data to investigate the effects of climate-driven environmental variability on human health outcomes that result from food and nutrition insecurity. This research uses a measure of vegetation health and biomass- the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI)- derived from multi-temporal satellite imagery and Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) data to investigate the effects of environmental and climate variables on prevalence of under-five stunting in Zambia.

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