Study of the determinants of chronic malnutrition in Northern Nigeria: Quantitative evidence from the Nigeria Demographic and Health SurveysDOWNLOAD FILE
November 3, 2017 - Author: Mulubrhan Amare, Todd Benson, Olusegun Fadare, and Motunrayo Oyeyemi
Mulubrhan Amare, Todd Benson, Olusegun Fadare, and Motunrayo Oyeyemi, 2017. Study of the determinants of chronic malnutrition in Northern Nigeria: Quantitative evidence from the Nigeria Demographic and Health Surveys. Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Security Policy Research Paper 83. East Lansing: Michigan State University.
Close to half of all children under five years of age in the Northeast and Northwest geopolitical zones were estimated to be stunted in their growth for their age in 2013, compared to 22 percent in the rest of Nigeria. To better understand the drivers of chronic child undernutrition in northern Nigeria and how those drivers differ from other areas of the country, an econometric analysis was done of data from the 2008 and 2013 Nigeria Demographic and Health Surveys. The quantitative analyses focused on children aged 6 to 23 months. A standard child-level regression based approach was used for the first part of the analysis using as the dependent variable whether the child is stunted (height-for-age z-score (HAZ) < -2.0). The analysis then was extended by comparing the model for northern Nigeria in 2013 to other areas of Nigeria in 2013 to decompose differences between the models.
All the analyses provide strong evidence of the need to treat the nutritional challenges of northern Nigeria quite differently than the nutritional challenges of other areas of Nigeria. There are strong differences in the levels of the determinants of undernutrition in young children between the two parts of the country. These differences should be addressed over the long term with continued public investments to raise levels in northern Nigeria to more closely match those elsewhere in the country. However, equally important, the decomposition analysis shows that there are significant differences between northern Nigeria and other areas of Nigeria in the effect of the same determinant of nutritional status in accelerating or retarding the linear growth of young children. A national program to address child undernutrition must recognize this heterogeneity in its design. To impose across Nigeria a single set of approaches to address the factors which results in stunted children is likely to fail for large numbers of children if these strong geographical differences in how these determinants operate to affect child nutritional status are not considered. Solutions need to be developed within northern Nigeria to more closely reflect the way the determinants of nutritional status operate in this area of the country.