Nutritional Status and Effect of Maternal Employment among Children Aged 6–59 Months in Wolayta Sodo Town, Southern Ethiopia: A Cross-sectional Study

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Hiwot Eshete
Yewelsew Abebe
Eskindir Loha
Teklemichael Gebru
Tesfalem Tesheme


BACKGROUND: Childhood malnutrition remains common in manyparts of the world; the magnitude of worldwide stunting, underweightand wasting in children under five years of age were 24.7 %, 15.1 %and 7.8 %, respectively. More than 150 million children under the ageof five years in the developing world are malnourished. Ethiopia isone of the countries in sub-Saharan Africa with the highest rates ofmalnutrition. In Ethiopia, 44.4% and 9.7% of children under-fiveyears old were stunted and wasted, respectively. This study was aimedto assess nutritional status and effect of maternal employment amongchildren aged 6–59 months.METHODS: A cross-sectional study was conducted in Wolayta SodoTown, Southern Ethiopia. Socio-demographic characteristics, childfeeding and healthcare seeking practice of mothers, and child'santhropometric status were assessed. Probability proportional to sizesampling approach was used to select a sample of 316 mothers havingchildren aged 6-59 months. The study was ethically approved byInstitutional Review Board of Health Science College, HawasaUniversity.RESULT: The overall result revealed that the prevalence of stuntingwas 22.2%, of which 21.8% and 22.6% were in children of employedand unemployed mothers, respectively. Low-weight-for age was 10.8%for children of employed mothers and 13.4% for children ofunemployed mothers. Wasting was 8.8% and 10.8% for children ofemployed and unemployed mothers, respectively. There was nostatistically significant association between maternal employment andnutritional status of their children. However, chronic malnutrition(stunting) was influenced by being educated mother (OR: 0.37) childage group of 24-59 months (OR: 0.36) and households' fifth wealthquintile (OR: 0.28).CONCLUSION: Low prevalence of stunting was observed. Stunting isa public health concern in the study area. Furthermore, stunting issignificantly influenced by mothers’ education, household wealth andchild age. However, maternal employment was not statisticallyassociated with child nutritional status. Thus, nutritional interventioninitiatives should focus on improving household food security,maternal education and agricultural diversification.

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Original Article
Author Biographies

Hiwot Eshete, Hadassah, Ethiopia

Department of Public Health,
Hadassah Health Science College

Yewelsew Abebe, HawassaUniversity, Hawassa, Ethiopia

College of Health Science

Eskindir Loha, HawassaUniversity, Hawassa, Ethiopia

College of Health Science

Teklemichael Gebru, WolkiteUnivesity, Wolkite, Ethiopia

Department of Public Health

Tesfalem Tesheme, Hadassah, Ethiopia

Department of Public Health,
Hadassah Health Science College