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PAM4 SOCIOECONOMIC DIFFERENTIALS OF CHILD STUNTING IN RURAL AND URBAN AREAS OF ZAMBIA

      Objectives

      • To assess differences in the relationship between socioeconomic status and child stunting in urban and rural areas of Zambia.
      • To assess the effect of residence type and socioeconomic status on child stunting in Zambia.

      Methods

      Using data from children aged 0-59 months from the 2013/14 Demographic Health Survey (ZDHS), this study examined the magnitude of socioeconomic differentials in child stunting between rural and urban areas. It also investigated the effect of residence type and socioeconomic status on child stunting in Zambia. Household wealth index was constructed based on ownership of using household assets. Chi-square tests, univariate and multiple logistic regression models were used to estimate the effect of many covariates including residence type and household wealth on chronic child undernutrition in Zambia.

      Results

      The findings indicate that children under five years from urban areas and those from disadvantaged households are more likely to be stunted compared to their counterparts in rural areas and wealthier households, respectively. Specifically, the results follow a wealth gradient; with children from the poorest households showing higher odds of being stunted compared to their peers in the wealthiest households and a quarter of children of the wealthiest households being stunted. However, the wealth gradient is consistently higher in rural areas compared to urban areas; and much wider than the overall rural-urban odds ratios.

      Conclusions

      This study concludes that child stunting is largely a major concern in urban areas that are characterized by a large wealth gradient in which children from less privileged households have a higher burden and risk of being stunted. However, one in four children residing in the wealthiest households is stunted. Although this finding may be counter-intuitive, it has important implications for policies that are aimed at addressing child stunting.