Factors Associated with Child Malnutrition in the Somali Region of Ethiopia: a Cross-Sectional Survey

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In Ethiopia, malnutrition contributes to more than one-third of under-five child deaths. This cross-sectional study aimed at identifying risk factors for child malnutrition by examining the role of underlying determinants such as food insecurity and water, sanitation, and hygiene conditions (WASH). A total of 116 households with under-five children in the Somali region of Ethiopia were recruited using a simple random sampling technique. Data was collected using a questionnaire that assessed socioeconomic status, child anthropometrics, household food insecurity, dietary diversity, and WASH. SPSS version 24 and R version 3.5.1 were used to conduct analysis. Most (71.56%) of children were malnourished. A majority of households reported food insecurity (70.69%) and consumed a diet with limited dietary diversity (80.17%). Most households did not have access to improved drinking water sources (72.42%) and sanitation facilities (98.28%). Maternal self-employment status was a risk factor for child wasting (OR = 3.80, 95% CI [1.04, 13.84], p =.05) and underweight (OR = 4.90, 95% CI [1.58, 15.17], p =.01). Child wasting was associated with household income (OR =.62, 95% CI [.42,.91], p =.03) and open defecation (OR = 11.17, 95% CI [1.57, 79.39], p =.02). While low household dietary diversity was a risk factor for child stunting (OR = 5.33, 95% CI [1.85, 16.55], p <.01), maternal hand washing practices after defecation were a protective factor for child stunting (OR =.28, 95% CI [.12,.68], p =.01). These findings underscore the importance of developing an integrated approach between different sectors in Nutrition, Health, WASH, and Food Security for health promotion among young children.

Original languageEnglish
JournalGlobal Social Welfare
StateAccepted/In press - 2021


  • Child malnutrition
  • Food diversity
  • Food security
  • WASH


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