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Dietary pattern, socioeconomic status and child health outcomes in Ghana: application of multilevel analysis

Nunoo, Jacob and Nyanzu, Frederick (2017): Dietary pattern, socioeconomic status and child health outcomes in Ghana: application of multilevel analysis.

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Abstract

Introduction – Child welfare, especially issues bordering on child health, continues to be one of the core issues of development. Over the years, appreciable progress has been made, but the levels are still not good enough. Objective - This paper investigates the effects of mothers’ socioeconomic characteristics and regional effect on the health of the child. Also, the paper employs a multilevel estimation technique, a methodology that distinguishes this study from previous studies to investigate in detail, the sources of variation in child health for appropriate policy recommendations Design/methodology/approach - This study revisits the issue on the determinants of child health using the 2012 Ghana version of the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey, with a sample size of 7364, to investigate how infant diet practices impact child health in Ghana. We estimate the impact of dietary pattern and other socioeconomic characteristics and regional effect on child anthropometric indicators using the multilevel estimation technique to control for clustering effect. Results - We found a dietary pattern to have a positive impact on child health. In addition, we realised that both mother characteristics and regional effect play a role in the growth of the child, but mother characteristics seem the most driving force when mother effects and regional effect are set at play. Conclusion - It is recommended that parents should adhere to the appropriate diet requirement for their children to better health outcome. Also, it is imperative for policies to be geared towards parents as a first step in ensuring a better child health. In addition, policies and programmes directed to the three Northern regions of Ghana are very crucial in supporting a positive child health development for children in Ghana.

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