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Decomposing socioeconomic gap in chronic malnutrition among preschool children in Pakistan


  • Naz, Lubna
  • Patel, Kamalesh Kumar


In developing countries, the high prevalence of chronic malnutrition is a complex development issue due to its close association with poverty and inequality. This study makes the first attempt to explore the factors contributing to the socioeconomic gap (SEG) in stunting among preschool children in Pakistan. This research used a sample of 3,478 under-five children extracted from the Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey 2017–18, a cross-sectional data set. A Chi-square test was used to analyze the association between stunting and socio-demographic characteristics. Fairlie nonlinear inequality-decomposition technique was used to elucidate the factors contributing to the stunting between poor and rich. Univariate analysis showed a higher prevalence of stunting among children aged 24–48 months, short birth-spacing, non-utilization of complete antenatal care services, children without immunization, small birth size, uneducated parents, Sindh and Balochistan, and poor. In Decomposition analysis, an overall gap in the mean prediction of stunting estimated to be 17% between the rich and poor. In the overall inequality, the share of the explained gap was 93.16%, while unexplained accounted for 6.84% of the total gap. Maternal education (43.6%), father’s education (28.3%), antenatal care index (21.1%), mother body mass index (11.8%), and birth size (5.2%) were found to be leading contributing factors of explain socioeconomic gap in stunting. The knowledge generated through this study may help policymakers to develop synergies between nutrition programs and poverty reduction strategies.

Suggested Citation

  • Naz, Lubna & Patel, Kamalesh Kumar, 2020. "Decomposing socioeconomic gap in chronic malnutrition among preschool children in Pakistan," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 119(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:cysrev:v:119:y:2020:i:c:s0190740920320065
    DOI: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2020.105583

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