BACKGROUND: Undernutrition, an important indicator for monitoring progress of development goals, is a matter of concern in many developing countries, including Bangladesh. Despite regional differences in chronic undernutrition in Bangladesh, regional determinants among children under the age of five were not extensively explored. DATA AND METHODS: Using combined repeated cross-sectional nationwide Bangladesh Demographic and Health Surveys (BDHS 2011 and 2014) and employing bivariate and logistic regression analyses, we estimated prevalence, changes and variations in regional determinants of stunting among children aged 6-59 months over two time periods 2011 and 2014. RESULTS: Our benchmark results suggested that the children from Rajshahi, Khulna, Rangpur, Chittagong and Dhaka tend to be significantly less stunted by 51% (p = 0.000; CI = [0.38, 0.63]), 44% (p = 0.000; CI = [0.44, 0.71]), 26% (p = 0.012; CI = [0.58, 0.93]), 23% (p = 0.012; CI = [0.62, 0.95]) and 22% (p = 0.033; [0.63, 0.97]) respectively, against Sylhet in 2011. With the exception of Dhaka, no region showed significant differences in the odds of stunting over two time periods 2011 and 2014, i.e. only Dhaka revealed significant difference by 30% reductions in the odds of stunting in 2014. Also, rural children were less likely to be stunted (by 19%) of the urban counterparts. Regional covariates of stunting differ. However, children's age, household wealth, mother's height, and parental education were important determinants of stunting in Bangladesh. CONCLUSION: Dhaka made an impressive improvement in child nutrition, thus contributed largely to the reduction of stunting levels in Bangladesh for 2014 over 2011. Sylhet and Barisal require strong push to improve nutritional status of children. Further decline is possible through region-specific multipronged interventions that can address area-specific covariates to break the cycle of undernutrition like strengthening economic and educational status, emphasizing the role of father to augment their knowledge in varying aspects like family planning, reduction of fertility and by improving mother's health.

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Journal PLoS ONE
Saha, U.R. (Unnati Rani), Chattapadhayay, A. (Aparajita), & Richardus, J.H. (2019). Trends, prevalence and determinants of childhood chronic undernutrition in regional divisions of Bangladesh: Evidence from demographic health surveys, 2011 and 2014. PLoS ONE, 14(8). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0220062