Socioeconomic determinants of nutritional status of children in Lao PDR: effects of household and community factors

Socioeconomic determinants of nutritional status of children in Lao PDR: effects of household and community factors

The prevalence of under nutrition among Lao children is among the highest in the region. However, the determinants of childhood under nutrition in Laos have not been fully analysed. This paper, using the dataset of the Lao Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 3, which is a nationally-representative sample in Laos, investigates the effects of socioeconomic factors at both household and community levels on the nutritional status of children. In the estimation, a multilevel linear model with random-intercepts was used for estimating the determinants of child anthropometric indices. The empirical results reveal that children from households in southern Laos and from ethnic minority groups are less-nourished. Level of education of parents, attitudes of mothers towards domestic violence, assets of household, local health services, and the condition of sanitation and water are considered to be important determinants of nutritional status of children. The pattern of growth-faltering in children by age is identified. Children aged 12-59 months are less-nourished than those aged 0-11 months. The empirical results are consistent with the collective household model which incorporates a decision-making process within the household. Since there is scarce evidence about the predictors of childhood under nutrition in Laos, the findings of this study will serve as a benchmark for future research.

{Adapted from author] 

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