Exploring the Factors Influencing Undernutrition Among Children Under Five in Tanzania





Malnutrition, Stunting, Under-Five Children, Under-Nutrition


Undernutrition is common, especially in low-income countries. Tanzania has the highest number of stunted and wasted children. This present study aims to analyze the determinants of undernutrition among children under the age of five in the country. The Tanzania Demographic and Health Survey Data (TDHS) for 2015/16 was utilized in this research, which employed a cross-sectional survey technique. Research employed a binary logit model to analyze the determinants of undernutrition among under five years in Tanzania. Study outcomes shed light on key determinants of undernutrition among under-five children in the nation. Results illustrate that child age, gender, parental maternal education, marital status, access to clean water, and food security emerge as significant factors influencing the prevalence of stunting. Variables including secondary education, university education, parent education, marital status, food security, and access to clean water were associated with child wasting. Results at the same time indicate that child gender (4.15, with a p-value of 0.000), secondary education (Odds Ratio: 4.06, p-value: 0.019), university education of parents (Odds Ratio=4.53, p-value=0.021), and marital status (2.52, with a p-value of 0.039) are significantly associated with child underweight. These findings highlight the nature of undernutrition, necessitating comprehensive and targeted interventions. Addressing these determinants, which promote educational initiatives, enhance water accessibility, and foster food security, is vital to establishing effective tactics for curbing undernutrition among the vulnerable demographic of under-five children in Tanzania.


Adzawla, W., Tahidu, A., Mustapha, S., & Azumah, S. B. (2019). Do socioeconomic factors influence households' solid waste disposal systems? Evidence from Ghana. Waste Management Research, 37(1), 51-57. doi:10.1177/0734242X18817717 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0734242X18817717

Aheto, J. M., Keegan, T. J., Taylor, B. M., & Diggle, P. J. (2015). Childhood malnutrition and its determinants among under-five children in Ghana. Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology, 29(6), 552-561. https://doi.org/10.1111/ppe.12222 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/ppe.12222

Becker, G. S. (1967). Human capital and the personal distribution of income: An analytical approach. Institute of Public Administration, Ann Arbor.

DHIS-2. (2022). Routine use of DHIS2 data: A scoping review. BMC Health Services Research, 22. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12913-022-08598-8 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12913-022-08598-8

Dimoso, R. L., & Andrew, F. (2021). Rural electrification and small and medium enterprises' (SMEs) performances in Mvomero District, Morogoro, Tanzania. Journal of Business Scholarship, 4(1), 48-69. https://doi.org/10.26677/TR1010.2021.717 DOI: https://doi.org/10.26677/TR1010.2021.717

Feyisa, B. B., & Dabu, G. T. (2023). Determinant of undernutrition among under five children in Ambo town during COVID-19 pandemic in 2020: A community-based cross-sectional study. BMC Nutrition, 9(1), 103-105. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40795-023-00762-5 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s40795-023-00762-5

Fischer, P., Schwartz, M., Richards, J., Goldstein, O., & Rojas, T. (1991). Brand logo recognition by children aged 3 to 6 years: Mickey mouse and old joe the Camel. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, 266(1), 3145-3148. https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.266.22.3145 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.266.22.3145

Fumbwe, F., Lihawa, R., Andrew, F., Kinyanjui, G., & Mkuna, E. (2021). Examination on level of scale efficiency in public hospitals in Tanzania. Cost Effectiveness and Resource Allocation, 19(2), 49-51. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12962-021-00305-4 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12962-021-00305-4

Grossman, M. (1972). On the concept of health capital and the demand for health. Journal of Political Economy, 80, 223-255. http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/259880 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1086/259880

Hagag, S., Nasser, S., Elden, N. M. K., & Taha, A. M. (2022). Prevalence and determinants of malnutrition among under-five children in a rural village in Giza Governorate. Open Access Macedonian Journal of Medical Sciences, 10(2), 1125-1131. https://doi.org/10.3889/oamjms.2022.9576 DOI: https://doi.org/10.3889/oamjms.2022.9576

Jackson, M. I., Kiernan, K., & McLanahan, S. (2017). Maternal education, changing family circumstances, and children's skill development in the United States and UK. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 674(1), 59-84. https://doi.org/10.1177/0002716217729471 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0002716217729471

Juma, O. A., Enumah, Z. O., Wheatley, H., Rafiq, M. Y., Shekalaghe, S., Ali, A., Mgonia, S., & Abdulla, S. (2016). Prevalence and assessment of malnutrition among children attending the Reproductive and Child Health clinic at Bagamoyo District Hospital, Tanzania. BMC Public Health, 16(1), 1094-1098. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-016-3751-0 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-016-3751-0

Kejo, D., Mosha, T. C., Petrucka, P., Martin, H., & Kimanya, M. E. (2018). Prevalence and predictors of undernutrition among under-five children in Arusha District, Tanzania. Food Science & Nutrition, 6(8), 2264-2272. https://doi.org/10.1002/fsn3.798 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/fsn3.798

Khamis, A. G., Mwanri, A. W., Ntwenya, J. E., & Kreppel, K. (2019). The influence of dietary diversity on the nutritional status of children between 6 and 23 months of age in Tanzania. BMC Pediatrics, 19(1), 518-519. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12887-019-1897-5 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12887-019-1897-5

Kitole, F. A., Lihawa, R. M., & Nsindagi, T. E. (2023). Agriculture productivity and farmers' health in Tanzania: Analysis on maize subsector. Global Social Welfare, 10(2), 197-206. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40609-022-00243-w DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s40609-022-00243-w

Kitole, F. A., Msoma, L. J., & Sesabo, J. K. (2024). Navigating the economic landscape: A comprehensive analysis of government spending, economic growth, and poverty reduction nexus in Tanzania. Applied Economics Letters, 7(3), 345-347. https://doi.org/10.1080/13504851.2024.2302902 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/13504851.2024.2302902

Kitole, F. A., Sesabo, J. K., & Lihawa, R. M. (2023). Instrumental variable approach on analyzing risk factors associated with noncommunicable disease prevalence in Tanzania: A nonexperimental design. Health Science Reports, 6(2), 121-123. e1585. https://doi.org/10.1002/hsr2.1585 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/hsr2.1585

Kothari, C. R. (2004). Research Methodology: Methods and Techniques (2nd revised edition). New Delhi: New Age International (P) Limited, Publishers.

Lwanga, F., Wanyenze, R. K., Matovu, J. K., & GarimoiOrach, C. (2015). Food security and nutritional status of children residing in sugarcane growing communities of east-central Uganda: A cross-sectional study. Journal of Food Security, 3(2), 34-39. https://doi.org/10.12691/jfs-3-2-1

Mahgoub, E., Nnyepi, M., & Bandeke, T. (2016). Factors affecting prevalence of undernutrition among children under three years of age in Botswana. African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development, 6(1), 3-6. https://doi.org/10.4314/ajfand.v6i1.19171 DOI: https://doi.org/10.4314/ajfand.v6i1.19171

Mdimu, E. L., Massaga, J. J., Sembuche, S. L., Abade, A. M., & Leyna, G. H. (2020). Risk factors associated with undernutrition among children aged 6-59 months in Ngorongoro, Arusha region, Tanzania: A case-control study, 2017. The Pan African Medical Journal, 37(3), 315-320. https://doi.org/10.11604/pamj.2020.37.315.21726 DOI: https://doi.org/10.11604/pamj.2020.37.315.21726

Mrema, J. D., Elisaria, E., Mwanri, A. W., & Nyaruhucha, C. M. (2021). Prevalence and determinants of undernutrition among 6-to 59-months-old children in lowland and highland areas in Kilosa district, Tanzania: A cross-sectional study. Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, 2021, Article ID 6627557. https://doi.org/10.1155/2021/6627557 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1155/2021/6627557

Mukisa, G. G., Shumba, T. T., & Lourens, A. A. (2024). Determinants of undernutrition in children under five years in the Southern Africa sub-region: A scoping review. Journal of Health Research, 38(2), 10-12. https://doi.org/10.56808/2586-940X.1074 DOI: https://doi.org/10.56808/2586-940X.1074

Mutisya, M., Kandala, N. B., Ngware, M. W., & Kabiru, C. W. (2015). Household food (in)security and nutritional status of urban poor children aged 6 to 23 months in Kenya. BMC Public Health, 15(5), 1052-1054. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-015-2403-0 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-015-2403-0

Nang, K. M., Ismail, A. J., Tangaperumal, A., Wynn, A. A., Thein, T. T., Hayati, F., & Teh, Y. G. (2023). Forensic age estimation in living children: How accurate is the Greulich-Pyle method in Sabah, East Malaysia? Frontiers in Pediatrics, 11(3), 76-79. https://doi.org/10.3389/fped.2023.1137960 DOI: https://doi.org/10.3389/fped.2023.1137960

Olack, B., Burke, H., Cosmas, L., Bamrah, S., Dooling, K., Feikin, D. R., Talley, L. E., Breiman, R. F., & O'Reilly, C. E. (2017). Nutritional status of under-five children living in an informal urban settlement in Nairobi, Kenya. Journal of Health, Population, and Nutrition, 29(4), 357-363. https://doi.org/10.3329/jhpn.v29i4.8451 DOI: https://doi.org/10.3329/jhpn.v29i4.8451

Olino, T. M., Durbin, C. E., Klein, D. N., Hayden, E. P., & Dyson, M. W. (2013). Gender differences in young children's temperament traits: Comparisons across observational and parent-report methods. Journal of Personality, 81(2), 119-129. https://doi.org/10.1111/jopy.12000 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/jopy.12000

Safari, J. G., Masanyiwa, Z. S., & Lwelamira, J. E. (2015). Prevalence and factors associated with child malnutrition in Nzega District, rural Tanzania. Current Research Journal of Social Sciences, 7(3), 94-100. https://doi.org/10.19026/crjss.7.5226 DOI: https://doi.org/10.19026/crjss.7.5226

TFNC & WFP. (2019). Fill the Nutrient Gap Tanzania Findings. Retrieved November 21, 2022, from Tanzania Food and Nutrition Centre and World Food Programme: https://docs.wfp.org/api/documents/WFP-0000023276/download/?%20Iframe

UNICEF. (2017). Committing to Child Survival: A Promise Renewed. Retrieved on November 21st, 2022, from http://www.apromiserenewed.org/countries/tanzania/

Wooldridge, J. M. (2002). Econometric Analysis of Cross Section and Panel Data. The MIT Press, Cambridge.




How to Cite

Kanire, E., Erick, S. B., & Mdoe, C. N. (2024). Exploring the Factors Influencing Undernutrition Among Children Under Five in Tanzania. African Journal of Empirical Research, 5(2), 240–249. https://doi.org/10.51867/ajernet.5.2.22