Objectives: The aim of this study was to review the factors associated with stunting in the northern province of Rwanda by assessing anthropometric status, dietary intake, and overall complementary feeding practices.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional study with 138 children 5 to 30 mo of age. A structured questionnaire was used to collect information on sociodemographic characteristics of each mother and child and breastfeeding and complementary feeding practices. Anthropometric status was assessed using height-for-age z-scores for children and body mass index for caregivers. Dietary intakes were estimated using a 24-h recall. Multiple linear and logistic regression models were performed to study the predictors of height-for-age z scores and stunting.
Results: There was a 42% stunting prevalence. Prevalence of continued breastfeeding and exclusive breastfeeding were 92% and 50%, respectively. Most children (62%) fell into the low dietary diversity score group. The nutrient intake from complementary foods was below recommendations. The odds of stunting were higher in children >12 mo of age (odds ratio [OR], 1.18; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.08–1.29). Exclusive breastfeeding (OR, 0.22; 95% CI, 0.10–0.48) and deworming tablet use in the previous 6 mo (OR, 0.25; 95% CI, 0.07–0.80) decreased significantly the odds of stunting in children. Also, the body mass index of the caretaker (β = 0.08 kg/m 2; 95% CI, 0.00–0.17) and dietary zinc intake (β = 1.89 mg/d; 95% CI, 0.29–3.49) were positively associated with the height-for-age z scores.
Conclusion: Interventions focusing on optimal nutrition during the complementary feeding stage, exclusive breastfeeding, and the use of deworming tablets have the potential to substantially reduce stunting in children in the northern province of Rwanda.
- Complementary feeding practices
- Deworming tablets
- Exclusive breastfeeding
- Dietary intake
- Children, Rwanda