Nutritional status of children aged 0–60 months in two drought-prone areas of Ethiopia

Shimelis Beyene, Mary S. Willis, Martha Mamo, Belaineh Legesse, Teshome Regassa, Tsegaye Tadesse, Yitbarek Wolde-Hawariat, Nur Firyal Roslan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objectives: A study was undertaken to assess the prevalence of undernutrition and associated factors among children under five in two drought-prone areas in Ethiopia. Study design and setting: Through a cross-sectional, mixed-methods approach, data were analysed using multistage random sampling methods. Study subjects and outcome measures: Data were collected on socioeconomic factors, demographic characteristics and anthropometric measurements from 350 households. Height-for-age (HAZ), weight-for-height (WHZ) and weight-for-age (WAZ) z-scores of 304 children, aged 0–60 months, were calculated using the WHO Anthro software. Children with z-scores of less than −2 standard deviations (SDs) for HAZ, WHZ and WAZ were classified as stunted, wasted and underweight respectively. Descriptive statistics, t-tests, correlation and regression analyses were used to assess the relationships between independent variables and stunting and underweight. Results: Prevalence of stunting, wasting and underweight were 49.4%, 13.7% and 37.1% respectively. Among independent variables tested, agroecology was significantly associated with stunting (p = 0.012) and underweight (p < 0.001), while livestock holding was significantly correlated with stunting (p = 0.008) and underweight (p = 0.012). Access to irrigation was also significantly associated with stunting (p = 0.028) and underweight (p = 0.016). However, the prevalence of stunting, wasting and underweight was not significantly associated with household size, landholdings or frequency of sickness. Conclusions: The prevalence of undernutrition within the study areas was higher than the national average for Ethiopia. Lowland areas exhibited the highest rates of undernutrition; consequently, interventions that include the enhancement of livestock holdings and access to irrigation should include agroecological factors in an effort to reduce childhood undernutrition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)152-157
Number of pages6
JournalSouth African Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2020


  • Ethiopia
  • children
  • stunting
  • under five
  • undernutrition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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