Spatial Analysis of Childhood Malnutrition in Bangladesh
Bhumika Piya, Vanderbilt University
Recent statistics show that child mortality has decreased remarkably in most parts of the developing world in the past two decades. However, improving the nutritional health and well-being of the surviving children continues to be a challenge. Using the Demographic and Health Survey data, this paper examines the prevalence of chronic malnutrition (stunting) among children under five, a robust measure of child health, in Bangladesh with respect to spatial-contextual factors such as urban/rural residence, elevation level of the community, and population density. Findings reveal that spatial attributes of a place play an important role in shaping nutritional status of children. Specifically, elevation appears to have a strong influence on the prevalence of chronic malnutrition with low-lying areas having greater rates than those in higher altitudes. Urban children fare slightly better, with the exception of Dhaka. Chronic malnutrition rates do not appear to vary by population density.