Journal of Public Health

, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 119–127 | Cite as

Decomposing the gap in child malnutrition between poor and non-poor in Sierra Leone

  • Bal Govind ChauhanEmail author
  • Satish Chauhan
  • Himanshu Chaurasia
Review Article



The main aims of the study were to quantify the contribution of factors that explain the poor/nonpoor gap in underweight and stunting among children aged less than 5 years in Sierra Leone.

Subject and methods

We used cross-sectional data from the Sierra Leone DHS conducted during 2013. Descriptive statistics, logistic regression, and nonlinear (fairle) decomposition technique were used to explain the contribution to the average gap in malnutrition between poor and non-poor children in Sierra Leone.


Considerable proportions of children were found to be underweight (16.8%) and stunted (38%) in Sierra Leone in 2013. The malnutrition gap between the poor and non-poor was stark in Sierra Leone. For these two indicators, the main contributing factors were place of residence, mother’s education, media exposure, and institutional delivery.


Based on the findings, the study suggests that improving public services such as basic health care and the education level of the mothers among the poor can ameliorate the negative impact of poverty on childhood malnutrition.


Malnutrition Underweight Stunting Decomposition 



We are grateful to the editor and the anonymous referees of the journal for their constructive comments which helped improve the quality of our manuscript. We are grateful to the Demographic and Health Survey forum for ease of access to the data. This organization bears no responsibility for the analysis or interpretations that are presented in this paper.

Authors’ contributions

Conceived and designed the research paper: BGC, SC, and HC; analyzed the data: BGC, HC; contributed agents/materials/analysis tools: BGC, SC; wrote the manuscript: BGC, HC, SC; refined the manuscript: BGC, HC, and SC.


This research received no grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Ethical treatment of experimental subjects (animal and human)

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by the author.

Informed consent

The study used the data set that is available online in the public domain; hence, there was no need to seek ethical consent to publish this study.

Data sharing statement

The authors confirm that all data underlying the findings are fully available without restriction. Data are publicly available from the Demographic and Health Survey website:


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.International Institute for Population SciencesMumbaiIndia

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