Prevalence and risk factors of underweight among under-5 children in Bangladesh: Evidence from a countrywide cross-sectional study

Md. Moyazzem Hossain, Faruq Abdulla, Azizur Rahman

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BACKGROUND: Underweight is one of the important anthropometric components of malnutrition among under-five children and is a major public health concern in Bangladesh because it contributes to mortality as well as morbidity. In designing suitable health programs and policies with the goal of attaining UN SDG Goals, it is necessary to identify the critical risk factors of under-five malnutrition. It is evident that the quantile regression produces robust estimates in the presence of outliers. However, in the context of Bangladesh, no study has been conducted considering the sequential quantile regression on this topic. Therefore, the authors aimed to find the determinants of underweight among under-5 children in Bangladesh considering the latest country representative dataset.

METHODS AND MATERIALS: The paper considers a weighted sample of size 7762 children are used and data were extracted from the latest Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey (BDHS) 2017-18 data. Multivariable simultaneous quantile regression models were used to fulfill the objectives of this study.

RESULTS: Findings depict that undernutrition affects the majority of children in the population as compared to the reference population. The WAZ-score of the child increases by 0.202 points at the 10th quantile of the conditional distribution, and by 0.565 points at the 90th quantile as we move from children of underweight to overweight women. Moreover, the WAZ scores of children from the richest families in the 10th, 50th, and 75th quantiles, respectively, are increased by 0.171, 0.016, and 0.084 points.

CONCLUSION: Quantile regression revealed the results of several socioeconomic and demographic factors acting differently across the WAZ distribution. Therefore, policymakers may consider the identified risk factors to lessen malnutrition among under-5 children in Bangladesh.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0284797
Number of pages15
JournalPLoS One
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023


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