Determinants of stunting in Indonesian children: evidence from a cross-sectional survey indicate a prominent role for the water, sanitation and hygiene sector in stunting reduction.
| ID: mdl-27472935
BACKGROUND: Stunting in early life has considerable human and economic costs. The purpose of the study was to identify factors associated with stunting among children aged 0-23 months in Indonesia to inform the design of appropriate policy and programme responses. METHODS: Determinants of child stunting, including severe stunting, were examined in three districts in Indonesia using data from a cross-sectional survey conducted in 2011. A total of 1366 children were included. The analysis used multiple logistic regression to determine unadjusted and adjusted odds ratios. RESULTS: The prevalence of stunting and severe stunting was 28.4 % and 6.7 %, respectively. The multivariate analysis on determinants of stunting identified a significant interaction between household sanitary facility and household water treatment (P for interaction = 0.007) after controlling for potential covariates: in households that drank untreated water, the adjusted odds on child stunting was over three times higher if the household used a unimproved latrine (adjusted odds ratio 3.47, 95 % confidence interval 1.73-7.28, P <0.001); however, in households that drank treated water, the adjusted odds on child stunting was not significantly higher if the household used an unimproved latrine (adjusted odds ratio 1.27, 95 % confidence interval 0.99-1.63, P = 0.06). Other significant risk factors included male sex, older child age and lower wealth quintile. The risk factors for severe stunting included male sex, older child age, lower wealth quintile, no antenatal care in a health facility, and mother's participation in decisions on what food was cooked in the household. CONCLUSIONS: The combination of unimproved latrines and untreated drinking water was associated with an increased odds on stunting in Indonesia compared with improved conditions. Policies and programmes to address child stunting in Indonesia must consider water, sanitation and hygiene interventions. Operational research is needed to determine how best to converge and integrate water, sanitation and hygiene interventions into a broader multisectoral approach to reduce stunting in Indonesia.