Severe acute malnutrition and its associated factors among children under-five years: A facility-based cross-sectional study

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Background: Despite consistent efforts to enhance child nutrition, poor nutritional status of children continues to be a major public health problem in Nepal. This study identified the predictors of severe acute malnutrition (SAM) among children aged 6 to 59 months in the two districts of Nepal. Methods: We used data from a cross-sectional study conducted among 6 to 59 months children admitted to the Outpatient Therapeutic Care Centers (OTCC). The nutritional status of children was assessed using mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) measurement. To determine which variables predict the occurrence of SAM, adjusted odds ratio was computed using multivariate logistic regression and p-value < 0.05 was considered as significant. Results: Out of 398 children, 5.8% were severely malnourished and the higher percentage of female children were malnourished. Multivariate analysis showed that severe acute malnutrition was significantly associated with family size (five or more members) (Adjusted Odds Ratio [AOR]: 3.96; 95% Confidence Interval [CI]: 1.23-12.71). Children from severely food insecure households (AOR: 4.04; 95% CI: 1.88-10.53) were four times more likely to be severely malnourished. Higher odds of SAM were found among younger age-group (AOR: 12.10; 95% CI: 2.06-71.09) children (0-12 vs. 24-59 months). Conclusions: The findings of this study indicated that household size, household food access, and the child's age were the major predictors of severe acute malnutrition. Engaging poor families in kitchen gardening to ensure household food access and nutritious diet to the children, along with health education and promotion to the mothers of young children are therefore recommended to reduce child undernutrition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number249
JournalBMC Pediatrics
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 26 2020

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  • Mid-upper arm circumference
  • Nepal
  • Nutritional status
  • Severe acute malnutrition
  • Under-five children


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