Maternal Determinants of Childhood Stunting: The Case of Pakistan

Maternal Determinants of Childhood Stunting: The Case of Pakistan

Sarin Ishaque (National University of Sciences and Technology, Pakistan), Junaid Ul Mulk (National University of Sciences and Technology, Pakistan), Muhammad Ali (National University of Sciences and Technology, Pakistan) and Ashfaq Ahmad Shah (National University of Sciences and Technology, Pakistan)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2197-7.ch002

Abstract

The progress on reducing stunting is rather slow in Pakistan despite significant reductions in poverty which begs a question why Pakistan has been unable to make significant strides in improving nutrition indicators for children over the past few decades. Despite the recognized importance of the problem in national and international forums, research on determinants of child stunting in Pakistan is scarce, especially in the context of the role of mother's health, education, and empowerment in determining a child's nutrition status. Therefore, this chapter incorporates the mother's health, education, and empowerment-related factors in determining the factors that affect child stunting in Pakistan. Using simple OLS methodology on DHS (2012-13) dataset for Pakistan, the authors' results show that improvement in mother's health, women empowerment, and women's education are likely to reduce stunting. Moreover, better hygiene and better food intake also reduce stunting among children in Pakistan.
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Prevalence Of Stunting In Pakistan

About 37% of children aged below 5 years residing in South Asia1 continue to face stunted growth especially among children from rural areas (WHO 2019). Stunting is more common among households, which face multiple types of disadvantages such as low diversification in dietary intake, poor maternal education, and household poverty. According to JME (Joint Child Malnutrition Estimates) data set estimates of malnutrition, 3 out of 8 countries namely Bangladesh, Nepal, and Bhutan have successfully been able to reduce stunting by around 50% with Bangladesh with the most reduction from 70.9% (1986-88) to 36.1% (2014) followed by Nepal from 68.2% (1995) to 35.8% (2016) and then Bhutan 60.9% (1986-88) to 33.6% (2010). Other countries followed up with India 62.7% (1988-90) to 38.4% (2015-16) then Pakistan 62.5% (1985-87) to 45% (2012-13) then Maldives 36.1% (1994) to 23.3% (2010) and lastly Sri Lanka 32.3% (1987) to 17.3% (2016) and Afghanistan 53.2% (1997) to 40.9% (2013).

Figure 1.

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Key Terms in this Chapter

Stunting: Under nutrition in the most important years of life; when growth and development is taking place.

Neonatal death: Death of infants during the first 28 days of life (0-27 days).

Hygiene: Conditions contributing to staying healthy and prevent diseases especially by taking measures for cleanliness.

Intergenerational: Relating to or extending over several generations.

WASH indicators: Water, sanitation and hygiene indicators.

Open Defecation: The practice of people going out in open spaces to defecate rather than going to toilets.

Socioeconomic Factors: Economic factors as dictated by societal structure i.e. education, income, occupation.

Women Empowerment: A social action that allows women to take the decisions regarding her life and her children’s lives.

Malnutrition: The lack of proper nutrition either because of lack of food, lack of eating the right nutrients or being unable to use the nutrients that one does eat.

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