Evidence of Concurrent Stunting and Obesity among Children under 2 Years from Socio-Economically Disadvantaged Backgrounds in the Era of the Integrated Nutrition Programme in South Africa

Perpetua Modjadji*, Lucy Nomsa Masilela, Lindiwe Cele, Mmampedi Mathibe, Peter Modupi Mphekgwana

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In view of persistent stunting and increasing rates of obesity coexisting among children in the era of the Integrated Nutrition Programme, a cross-sectional study was conducted to determined concurrent stunting and obesity (CSO) and related factors using a random sample of child–mother pairs (n = 400) in Mbombela, South Africa. Sociodemographic data was collected using a validated questionnaire, and stunting (≥2SD) and obesity (>3SD) were assessed through respective length-for-age (LAZ) and body mass index (BAZ) z-scores. Using SPSS 26.0, the mean age of children was 8 (4; 11) months, and poor sociodemographic status was observed, in terms of maternal singlehood (73%), no education or attaining primary education only (21%), being unemployed (79%), living in households with a monthly income below R10,000 (≈$617), and poor sanitation (84%). The z-test for a single proportion showed a significant difference between the prevalence of CSO (41%) and non-CSO (69%). Testing for the two hypotheses using the Chi-square test showed no significant difference of CSO between boys (40%) and girls (41%), while CSO was significantly different and high among children aged 6–11 months (55%), compared to those aged 0–5 months (35%) and ≥12 months (30%). Further analysis using hierarchical logistic regression showed significant associations of CSO with employment (AOR = 0.34; 95%CI: 0.14–0.78), maternal education status (AOR = 0.39; 95%CI: 0.14–1.09) and water access (AOR = 2.47; 95%CI: 1.32; 4.63). Evidence-based and multilevel intervention programs aiming to prevent CSO and addressing stunting, while improving weight status in children with social disadvantages, are necessary.

Original languageEnglish
Article number12501
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume19
Issue number19
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022

Keywords

  • South Africa
  • child–mother pairs
  • concurrent stunting and obesity
  • mbombela
  • sociodemographic factors

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