Background: Stunting is one of the most public health burdens in Rwanda. Most deaths due to stunting are associated with inappropriate feeding practices that occur in the first 5 years of life. This study aimed at determining the risk factors for stunting in children under 5 years of age in the Eastern and Western provinces of Rwanda.
Method: Cross-sectional study using secondary data from Rwanda Demographic Health Survey 2014/2015.
Results: Stunting was highly prevalent in eastern province compared to Western province. It was also highly prevalent in rural area in both provinces. Results indicated a significant association between maternal education and stunting (=6.868; p=0.001), maternal age group (=15.44; p=0.017), maternal occupation (=30.012; p=0.000), wealth index (=14.327; p=0.006), sex of child (=2.91; p=0.008) and giving child fortified food (=4.256; p=0.039). Results indicated that antenatal care visits were significantly associated with stunting (=6.653; p=0.01). Sharing a toilet was significantly associated with stunting (=25.88; p=0.000). Multiple logistic regression indicated that the gender of child [OR=1.08; 95% CI (1.057-1.093), p=0.008], household wealth index [OR=0.386; 95% CI (0.357-0.414)] and breastfeeding [OR=0.02; 95% CI (0.004-0.036), p=0.013] were the risk factors of stunting in eastern and western provinces.
Conclusion: Immediate and appropriate interventions targeted at community management of acute malnutrition and stunting are needed to manage the associated morbidity and mortality. Strengthening the health system for improving child health through prioritizing maternal and child by addressing poverty and increase food access is mostly needed. These tactics yield more sustainable improvement in child nutrition within Eastern and Western provinces.
Keywords: children; malnutrition; province; stunting; under 5 years.