Prevalence and Determinants of Undernutrition among Under-Five Children in Nigeria: A Systematic Review

  •  Bilkisu Nwankwo    
  •  Masoud Mohammadnezhad    
  •  Victoria Mensah Hagan    
  •  Christopher Garatsa    
  •  Emily Bukachi Barasa    


BACKGROUND: Child undernutrition is a key public health issue that both causes and contributes to disease and death. Undernutrition accounts for 45% of under-five deaths globally most of which occur in Low- and Middle-income countries (LMIC). Malnutrition has a substantial and long-lasting effect on individuals, families, communities and the entire nation. This study aimed to assess the prevalence and determinants of undernutrition in under-five children in Nigeria.

METHODOLOGY: This systematic review was done following the Cochrane library guidelines. A search of literature written in English language and published between 2000 and 2022 was done using PubMed, CINAHL, MEDLINE and ProQuest databases. The initial search resulted in 760 studies. These were exported to End note version 9 to remove duplicates. Titles and abstracts were screened for studies that met the inclusion criteria. Finally, 11 studies that met the inclusion criteria were thoroughly assessed and data that were relevant to this systematic review were captured. The study findings were analyzed using descriptive statistics.

RESULTS: The prevalence of undernutrition was between 1.0% and 43.3%. The highest prevalence of underweight, wasting and stunting were 43.3%, 29.3% and 41%, respectively. Factors associated with undernutrition were age, sex, birth order, recent acute diarrhoea and acute respiratory infection, maternal literacy level, maternal income <$20 and socio-economic class among others.

CONCLUSION: Under-five undernutrition is a huge public health issue in Nigeria. Prevalence of undernutrition varies widely across geo-political zone with a myriad of associated risk factors. Multi-level and multidisciplinary interventions are required to sustainably address the determinants of under-five undernutrition.

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