The child nutritional status of a country is a potential indicator of socioeconomic development. Child malnutrition is still the leading cause of severe health and welfare problems across Bangladesh. The most prevalent form of child malnutrition, stunting, is a serious public health issue in many low and middle-income countries. This study aimed to investigate the heterogeneous effect of some child, maternal, household, and health-related predictors, along with the quantiles of the conditional distribution of Z-score for height-for-age (HAZ) of under five children in Bangladesh.

Methods and materials

In this study, a sample of 8,321 children under five years of age was studied from BDHS- 2017-18. The chi-square test was mainly used to identify the significant predictors of the HAZ score and sequential quantile regression was used to estimate the heterogeneous effect of the significant predictors at different quantiles of the conditional HAZ distribution. 


 The findings revealed that female children were significantly shorter than their male counterparts except at the 75th quantile. It was also discovered that children aged 7-47 months were disadvantaged, but children aged 48-59 months were advantaged in terms of height over children aged 6 months or younger. Moreover, children with a higher birth order had significantly lower HAZ scores than 1st birth order children. In addition, home delivery, the duration of breastfeeding, and the BCG vaccine and vitamin A received status were found to have varied significant negative associations with the HAZ score. As well, seven or fewer antenatal care visits was negatively associated with the HAZ score, but more than seven antenatal care visits was positively associated with the HAZ score. Additionally, children who lived in urban areas and whose mothers were over 18 years and either normal weight or overweight had a significant height advantage. Furthermore, parental secondary or higher education had a significant positive but varied effect across the conditional HAZ distribution, except for the mother's education, at the 50th quantile. Children from wealthier families were also around 0.30 standard deviations (SD) taller than those from the poorest families. Religion also had a significant relationship with the conditional HAZ distribution in favor of non-Muslim children.


 To enhance children's nutritional levels, intervention measures should be designed considering the estimated heterogeneous effect of the risk factors. This would accelerate the progress towards achieving the targets of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to child and maternal health in Bangladesh by 2030.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0279901
Number of pages20
JournalPLoS One
Issue number1 January
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jan 2023


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