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date: 27 November 2021

Abstract and Keywords

In the 1980s and 1990s Ethiopia was synonymous with famine and had one of the highest rates of chronic child under-nutrition in the world. From around the turn of the millennium, however, anthropometric measures of nutrition have improved substantially. Among children 0–5 years, the prevalence of stunting—a measure of chronic under-nutrition—fell from 58 per cent in 2000 to 38 per cent in 2016. In this chapter, we carefully document how stunting rates have changed by gender, and across space and wealth strata. We then use insights from the nutrition literature to understand the possible underlying drivers of this rapid reduction in stunting prevalence. This analysis suggests that the fall in stunting over this period was driven by improvements in exclusive breastfeeding practices. Meanwhile, poor maternal health during pregnancy, and poor dietary diversity during complementary feeding remain significant risk factors for stunting.

Keywords: malnutrition, stunting, breastfeeding, body mass index, complementary feeding, dietary diversity

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