Socio-economic determinants of vitamin A intake in children under 5 years of age: evidence from Pakistan
Changezi and Lindberg JHND Early View
Vitamin A deficiency, which is a leading health issue worldwide, is estimated to affect approximately 190 million children globally. The most affected areas are Africa and parts of Southeast Asia.
The present study examined the use of vitamin A supplementation and the association between socio-demographic factors and vitamin A supplementation in children aged less than 5 years from a cross-sectional demographic survey of Pakistan. Odds ratios were used to express the association between the independent and dependent variables.
For 10 906 children, the coverage of vitamin A supplementation was 68.5%, with regional variations of between 8% and 79%. A multiple logistic regression analysis was used on a nationally representative sample of mothers aged 15–49 years. The adjusted results showed that socio-demographic factors such as a maternal age greater than 24 years, living in rural areas and regional variations were positively associated with vitamin A supplementation.
From the results of the present study, we conclude that socio-demographic factors were influential on vitamin A supplementation in children aged less than 5 years. Therefore, national and community-level efforts to support younger mothers in urban areas in the regions with the lowest coverage are needed to increase the acceptance of vitamin A supplementation, aiming to improve the nutritional status of children and decrease inequity in health.