Examining the association of child malnutrition with socio-economic and biophysical factors across scales in Sub-Saharan Africa

Authors: Zeynab Jouzi*, North Carolina State University, Yu-Fai Leung, North Carolina State University, Stacy Nelson, North Carolina State University
Topics: Food Systems, Africa, Coupled Human and Natural Systems
Keywords: Malnutrition, food security, sub-Saharan Africa, socio-economic, biophysical factors
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/7/2020
Start / End Time: 2:25 PM / 3:40 PM
Room: Tower Court C, Sheraton, IM Pei Tower, Second Floor Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


It is estimated that more than 820 million people -one in nine- are hungry and about two billion experience different levels of food insecurity. The prevalence of hunger is uneven and in some regions such as Sub-Saharan Africa, it is much higher. Moreover, in less developed communities, food security is heavily dependent on natural resources, and consequently environmental degradations can lead to negative impacts on human well-being. This study aims to improve our understanding of the relationship between environment and child malnutrition through an integrated analysis of socio-economic and biophysical factors at different spatial scales. We obtained data of stunting rates of children under 5 as a proxy for malnutrition from the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS/USAID) program, for Zimbabwe in 2015. Conducting logistic regression, our results indicate that at the country level, stunting rate was associated with the enhanced vegetation index, travel time to the city (access to market), the place of residence, wealth index of household, mother’s education level, and sex of children. Running the model at the province level, we notice some heterogeneity in factors affecting stunting. Our results suggest that the nature and strength of the relationship between environment and stunting vary at different scales.

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