What Explains the Large Disparity in Child Stunting in the Philippines? A Decomposition Analysis

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About a third of under-five Filipino children are stunted, with significant socio-economic inequality. This study aims to quantify factors that explain the large gap in stunting between poor and non-poor Filipino children. Design:

Using the 2015 Philippine National Nutrition Survey (NNS), we conducted a linear probability model to examine the determinants of child stunting then an Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition to explain the factors contributing to the gap in stunting between poor and non-poor children. Setting:

Philippines Participants:

1, 881 children aged 6-23 months Results:

The overall stunting prevalence was 38.5% with significant gap between poor and non-poor (45.0% vs. 32.0%). Maternal height, education, and maternal nutrition status account for 26%, 18%, and 17% of stunting inequality, respectively. These are followed by quality of prenatal care (12%), dietary diversity (12%), and iron supplementation in children (5%). Conclusions:

Maternal factors account for more than 50% of the gap in child stunting in the Philippines. This signifies the critical role of maternal biological and socio-economic circumstances in improving the linear growth of children.