Socioeconomic Inequalities of Child Stunting in Sri Lanka –a Decomposition Study

Gayathri Abeywickrama
Sabu S. S. Padmadas, University of Southampton
Andrew Hinde, University of Southampton

Sri Lanka has a stagnated child stunting rates more than a decade, which became a health burden to the country. However, there is a lack of evidence on the socioeconomic inequalities of stunting in Sri Lanka. The objective of the study is to determine the degree of socioeconomic inequality in stunting and decompose it to the social determinants of stunting for the 7,961 children aged below 5 years. This study used first island-wide Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) conducted in 2016 after the war. Socio-economic inequality was assessed by using concentration curves and concentration indices for different residential sectors/ population sub-groups. Socioeconomic determinants were decomposed using the Blinder–Oaxaca decomposition approach. The overall prevalence of stunting was 17%, continuing the stagnated value even after a decade (2006-2016) with the negative concentration curves reflects a significant pro-poor socioeconomic inequality among estate areas and war-affected districts. Birth weight, child age, maternal BMI found to be significant contributors, accounted for 37% of the total inequality, followed by maternal education and sector of residence. Results suggest prioritizing the nutrition needs of vulnerable population groups to reduce the socioeconomic inequalities in order to reaching the goal of stunting reduction.

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 Presented in Session P2. Poster Session Ageing, Health and Mortality