Examining Determinants of Chronic Childhood Undernutrition in Kenya: A Multilevel & Spatial Analysis

Authors: Kevin Mwenda*, Brown University
Topics: Population Geography, Africa, Applied Geography
Keywords: Children, Stunting, Undernutrition, Spatial, Kenya
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/7/2020
Start / End Time: 2:25 PM / 3:40 PM
Room: Agate C, Hyatt Regency, Third Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Chronic childhood undernutrition (stunting) reflects a failure to receive adequate nutrition over a long period and is associated with long-term adverse effects such as increased susceptibility to diseases and higher mortality rates. This study identifies significant hot & cold spots of childhood stunting in Kenya and quantifies various determinants of stunting at the individual and community levels.
A total of 18,946 children aged 0–59 months across 1592 household communities were included in the analysis. Significant hot spots of stunting were detected in the north-western and south-eastern parts of the country, while significant cold spots were found in the central region. Individual and community level factors explained about 83% and 32% of stunting, respectively, and 7% when incorporating both factors. Increased odds of child stunting were associated with being male and a preceding birth interval of ≥ 24 months. Children aged between 24–35 months were more likely to be stunted than children less than one year old. Children from the poorest wealth quintile had higher odds of being stunted compared to children from the wealthiest quintile. Increased risk of stunting was also significantly associated with utilization of unimproved drinking water sources compared to piped water and living further away from national borders. Decreased risk of child stunting was associated with low birth weight, low mother’s Body Mass Index (BMI) and residing in communities experiencing medium potential evapotranspiration. Multi-level interventions from the individual to the community level are vital in improving the nutritional status of children.

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