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Risk factors and regional variations of malnutrition among children under 5 in Myanmar: Cross-sectional analyses at national and subnational levels

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Hnin Thiri Khaing, Shuhei Nomura, Daisuke Yoneoka, Peter Ueda, Kenji Shibuya

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere030894
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2019

King's Authors


Objective The levels, distributions of child malnutrition and its potential risk factors are not very well known in Myanmar. The objectives included in this study were: to estimate the current national and subnational prevalence of four types of malnutrition (stunting, wasting, underweight and overweight) among children under 5 in Myanmar; to identify potential risk factors associated with each type of malnutrition and to investigate how the identified risk factors' distributions explained the regional disparities in malnutrition prevalence. Design/methods Data from the Myanmar Demographic and Health Survey 2015-2016 were used to estimate the prevalence of four types of malnutrition at both national and subnational levels (15 regions). Logistic regression models were applied to examine the association between each type of malnutrition and its risk factors, including child's factors, parental social status and household conditions. The risk factor-adjusted prevalence of the malnutrition was estimated at the subnational level based on the estimated parameters from the regression models. Results The national prevalence of stunting, wasting, underweight and overweight in children under 5 was estimated to be 29.1% (95% CI 27.7% to 30.6%), 6.8% (6.0% to 7.6%), 18.3% (17.0% to 19.5%) and 1.5% (1.1% to 1.9%), respectively. Substantial regional variations in the prevalence of each type of malnutrition were observed. Several risk factors of each type of malnutrition were identified, including low birth weight (LBW) and inadequate maternal nutritional status. Except for overweight, regional variations largely persisted even after adjustment for the risk factors investigated. Conclusion The prevalence of malnutrition among children under 5 is still high in Myanmar, most commonly stunting. Targeted interventions aimed at prevention of LBW, improving the maternal nutritional status, in addition to other sociodemographic conditions should be encouraged urgently. Further research is necessary to investigate the potential sources of regional variation in prevalence of malnutrition among children under 5 in the country.

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