Understanding the Burden of Malnutrition in Children Under 5 Years in Nigeria

Abstract: Malnutrition is a significant public health problem and an important cause of morbidity and mortality in children below 5 years of age. The proportion of this disease is much higher in sub-Saharan countries than in other geographical regions globally. The aim of this article is to identify the factors that contribute to malnutrition, critically analyze them and provide logical recommendations. Some of the factors influencing the nutritional status of children under the age of five were educational and economic status of the parents, especially the mother, health and nutritional status of the mothers during pregnancy and breastfeeding, immunization status of the child and the political system of the country. Recommended interventions includes; health education, female empowerment, nutrition and government participation

Keywords: Malnutrition; Breastfeeding, Immunization,


Methodology: We carried out a systemic review of observational studies conducted in Nigeria on prevalence, burden and causes of malnutrition. Data bases from Google scholar, WHO, Unicef, world bank, Demographic and Health were searched.


Hypothesis: Socio-economic and demographic factors (mother’s educational and economic status) and Insecurity are the main underlying cause of malnutrition in children under 5 years of age in Nigeria.


Introduction: Malnutrition can be caused by deficiencies, excesses, imbalances in an individual’s consumption of nutrients (WHO Geneva, 2007). Malnutrition can be under nutrition or over nutrition (Sufyan MB et al., 2012), but in this review, malnutrition solely refers to the deficiency of nutrition. One of the major health problem faced by children in developing countries today is under nutrition (Monyeki MA et al., 2011, Ubesie AC, et al., 20212 & Mengistu et al., 2013). Under nutrition leads to diseases and death in children, especially in the low and middle income countries (WHO 2018). Malnutrition causes Nigeria billions in lost revenue through reduced economic productivity, days away from work due to illness and money spent on treating ailments (World Bank 2018). The negative impacts of malnutrition are seen in families and communities in various aspects such as economically, socially and medically (WHO 2018).



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