6.2 Common forms of malnutrition in Ethiopia
Malnutrition is a major public health problem in many developing countries. It is one of the main health problems facing women and children in Ethiopia. The country has the second highest rate of malnutrition in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Ethiopia faces the four major forms of malnutrition: acute and chronic malnutrition, iron deficiency anaemia (IDA), vitamin A deficiency (VAD), and iodine deficiency disorder (IDD). The 2005 Demographic Health Survey (DHS) has shown that about 47 % and 11% of Ethiopian children under five years of age were stunted and wasted respectively. Thirty eight percent of children under five years of age were underweight and 11% were severely underweight.
Malnutrition is also very high amongst women. One in four women (27%) in Ethiopia are thin i.e. they have body mass index of less than 18.5 (Ethiopian Demographic Health Survey of 2005).
What are the major forms of malnutrition that are common in Ethiopia?
The common forms of malnutrition in Ethiopia include acute and chronic malnutrition, iron deficiency anemia (IDA), vitamin A deficiency (VAD), and iodine deficiency disorder (IDD).
According to the DHS, the prevalence of low birth weight (LBW) in Ethiopia is one of the highest in the world, and has been estimated to be 14%. Based on mother’s subjective assessment of the size of the baby at birth, 21% of births were reported to be very small and 7% were reported as smaller than average. One major contributing factor for LBW is the poor nutritional status of women both before and during pregnancy, made worse by inadequate weight gain during pregnancy (DHS).