Single motherhood and marasmus among under-five children in Sub-Saharan Africa: a regional analysis of prevalence and correlates

Emmanuel O Olamijuwon, Clifford O Odimegwu, Jeremy Gumbo, Vesper H Chisumpa


Despite efforts aimed at improving child health status globally, marasmus remains a health burden in sub-Sahara Africa (SSA) and an important risk factor for illnesses and death, especially among young children. Using pooled data from the latest (2010-2014) demographic and health surveys of 21-SSA countries, we examined the relationship between single motherhood and marasmus among under-fives in SSA. Multivariate logistic regression was fitted on a representative sample of 59,013 under-fives who were either marasmic or physically healthy. Contrary to some studies, we found no evidence that single-motherhood was associated with the risk of marasmus in SSA and its sub-regions regions. Results from the regression analysis revealed that the risk of marasmus was lower for under-fives of single mothers in West Africa (OR=0.72 CI:0.508-1.016), East Africa (OR=0.55 CI:0.230-1.299), Central Africa (OR=0.88 CI:0.522-1.487) and SSA (OR=0.87 CI:0.699-1.070) but higher in Southern Africa (OR=1.32 CI:0.899-1.946) all compared to under-fives of married mothers.


single motherhood; under-five; marasmus; malnutrition; sub-Sahara Africa

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