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      Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene: Linkages with Stunting in Rural Ethiopia

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          Abstract

          Stunting is a global burden affecting nearly 160 million children younger than five years of age. Whilst the linkages between nutrition and stunting are well recognized, there is a need to explore environmental factors such as water and sanitation, which may influence feeding practices and result in potential infection pathways. This paper explores the linkages between stunting and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) factors in Ethiopia, which is a relatively understudied context. The research draws upon baseline data for children under the age of five from 3200 households across four regions in Ethiopia as part of a wider study and integrated program led by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Using World Health Organization (WHO) z-scoring, the average stunting rate in the sample is 47.5%. This paper also takes into account demographic and social behavioural factors such as the age, gender of children, and gender of the primary caregiver, in addition to handwashing behaviour and drinking water facilities. The evidence recommends efforts to improve handwashing behaviour for mothers and children with a focus on access to clean water. Higher stunting rates with an increase in the age of children highlight the need for continued interventions, as efforts to improve nutrition and WASH behaviours are most effective early on in promoting long-term health outcomes for children.

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          Most cited references 37

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          Maternal and child undernutrition and overweight in low-income and middle-income countries.

          Maternal and child malnutrition in low-income and middle-income countries encompasses both undernutrition and a growing problem with overweight and obesity. Low body-mass index, indicative of maternal undernutrition, has declined somewhat in the past two decades but continues to be prevalent in Asia and Africa. Prevalence of maternal overweight has had a steady increase since 1980 and exceeds that of underweight in all regions. Prevalence of stunting of linear growth of children younger than 5 years has decreased during the past two decades, but is higher in south Asia and sub-Saharan Africa than elsewhere and globally affected at least 165 million children in 2011; wasting affected at least 52 million children. Deficiencies of vitamin A and zinc result in deaths; deficiencies of iodine and iron, together with stunting, can contribute to children not reaching their developmental potential. Maternal undernutrition contributes to fetal growth restriction, which increases the risk of neonatal deaths and, for survivors, of stunting by 2 years of age. Suboptimum breastfeeding results in an increased risk for mortality in the first 2 years of life. We estimate that undernutrition in the aggregate--including fetal growth restriction, stunting, wasting, and deficiencies of vitamin A and zinc along with suboptimum breastfeeding--is a cause of 3·1 million child deaths annually or 45% of all child deaths in 2011. Maternal overweight and obesity result in increased maternal morbidity and infant mortality. Childhood overweight is becoming an increasingly important contributor to adult obesity, diabetes, and non-communicable diseases. The high present and future disease burden caused by malnutrition in women of reproductive age, pregnancy, and children in the first 2 years of life should lead to interventions focused on these groups. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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            Effect of washing hands with soap on diarrhoea risk in the community: a systematic review

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              Reducing Child Undernutrition: Past Drivers and Priorities for the Post-MDG Era

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Int J Environ Res Public Health
                Int J Environ Res Public Health
                ijerph
                International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
                MDPI
                1661-7827
                1660-4601
                09 October 2019
                October 2019
                : 16
                : 20
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Civil, Environment and Geomatic Engineering, University College London, Chadwick Building, London WC1E6BT, UK; c.kwami@ 123456ucl.ac.uk (C.S.K.); h.a.gavilan@ 123456gmail.com (H.G.)
                [2 ]United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Regional Water and Sanitation Advisor for East and Southern Africa, Nairobi 00100, Kenya; sgodfrey@ 123456unicef.org
                [3 ]UCL-Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, University College London, London WC1N 1EH, UK; m.lakhanpaul@ 123456ucl.ac.uk
                [4 ]Whittington Health NHS Trust, London N19 5NF, UK
                Author notes
                Article
                ijerph-16-03793
                10.3390/ijerph16203793
                6843659
                31600942
                © 2019 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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