Social Factors Contributing to Stunting for Children under Five Years: A Case of Iringa District Council, Tanzania

Muhidin Nuru Galiatano *

Department of Community Development, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Iringa, Tanzania.

Frank Phillipo

Department of Community Development, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Iringa, Tanzania.

Agnes Nzali

Department of Community Development, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Iringa, Tanzania.

*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.


This study presented the findings on the factors contributing to stunting for children under five years in Iringa District Council. This study involved four wards and two villages from each ward. The target population for this study included parents with stunted children under five years and 26 key informants. The study employed mixed approaches which involve both qualitative and quantitative research approaches, Cross-sectional research design was used. Simple random and purposive sampling techniques were used to get parents with stunted children and key respondents. The study used both primary and secondary data to acquire intended information. Questionnaires, interview and Document review was used by a researcher. The high prevalence of stunting was revealed by this study to be influenced by social factors such as lack of nutritional knowledge, large size of household members, child characteristics, inadequate dietary intake, lack of knowledge on purse of a thousand days, poor child care practice, excessive use of alcohol, poor breastfeeding and complementary feeding of early milk were found as the key factors influencing stunting. Government could come up with innovative strategies to educate parents about the importance of exclusive breastfeeding until six months, feeding practices, purse of thousand days, and the strategies of addressing excessive use of alcohol should be implemented. The researcher suggests further research to be conducted to analyse a bigger area, also future researchers have a duty to focus on the additional indicators of stunting prevalence that could not be included owing to time and resource constraints.

Keywords: Child, parents, stunting, social factors

How to Cite

Galiatano , Muhidin Nuru, Frank Phillipo, and Agnes Nzali. 2023. “Social Factors Contributing to Stunting for Children under Five Years: A Case of Iringa District Council, Tanzania”. Asian Journal of Education and Social Studies 49 (3):300-311.


Download data is not yet available.


Prendergast AJ, Humphrey JH. The stunting syndrome in developing countries. Peadiatrics and International Child Health; 2014.

Suhardin S, Indarwati R, Meo CM, Sari NK, Halimatunnisa M. Social-cultural aspect of stunting: a systematic review. Int J Psychosoc Rehabil; 2020.

World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa. Nutrition in the WHO African Region. Author; 2017.

United Nations Children’s Fund. Reducing stunting in children under five years of age: A comprehensive evaluation of UNICEF’s strategies and programme performance – A global synthesis report. Author; 2017.

Bronfenbrenner U. The ecology of human development: Experiments by nature and design. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press; 1979.

Hoffman MA, Kruczek T. A bioecological model of mass trauma: Individual, community, and societal effects. The Counseling Psychologist; 2011.

De Onis M, Branca F. Childhood stunting: A global perspective. Maternal and Child Nutrition; 2016.

Rahman MM. Is unwanted birth associated with child malnutrition in Bangladesh? International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health. 2015;41(2):80-88.

Mulugeta M, Mirotaw H, Tesfaye B. Dataset on child nutritional status and its socioeconomic determinants in Nonno District Ethiopia. Data in Brief; 2017.

Rana MJ, Goli S. Does planning births affect childhood under nutrition? Evidence from demographic and health surveys of selected Asian countries; 2018.

Chaudhury MSI, Akhter N, Haque M, Aziz R, Nahar N. Serum total protein and albumin levels in different grades of protein energy malnutrition. Journal of Bangladesh Society of Physiologist; 2013.

Woodruff BA, Wirth JP, Ngnie-Teta I, Beauliere JM, Mamady D, Ayoya MA, Rohner F. Determinants of stunting, wasting and anemia in Guinean pre-school age children: An analysis of demographic health survey data from 1999, 2005 and 2012. Food and Nutrition Bulleti; 2018.

Ntenda PAM, Chuang YC. Analysis of individual level and community level effects om childhood under nutrition in Malawi. Pediatrics and Neonatology; 2018.

Abeway S, Grebemichael B, Murugan R, Assefa M, Adinew YM. Stunting and its determinants among children aged 6–59 months in Northern Ethiopia: A cross sectional study. Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism; 2018.

Alemayehu M, Tinsae F, Haileslassie K, Seid O, Gebregzidbher G, Yebyo H. Under nutrition status and associated factors in under five children in Tigray, Northern Ethiopia. Nutrition; 2015.

Akram R, Sultana M, Ali N, Sheik N, Sarker AR. Prevalence and determinants of stunting among pre-school children and its urban-rural disparities 107 in Bangladesh. Food and Nutrition Bulletin; 2018.

Batiro B, Demissie T, Halala Y, Anjulo AA. Determinants of stunting among children 6-59 months at Kindo Didaye Woreda, Wolaita Zone, Southern Ethiopia: Unmatched case control. Plos One; 2017.

Martorell R. Improved nutrition in the first 1000 days and adult human capital and health. American Journal of Human Biology; 2018.

Tadele N, Habta F, Akmel D, Deges E. Knowledge, attitude and practice towards exclusive breastfeeding among lactating mothers in Mizan Aman town, Southwestern Ethiopia: Descriptive cross-sectional study. International Breastfeeding Journal; 2016.

Frempong RB, Annim SK. Dietary diversity and child malnutrition in Ghana. Heliyon; 2017.

Pratim RM. Malnutrition in India and its determinants: A study from East India. Tropical Doctor; 2019.

Shukla N, Toppo NA, Thakur A, Kasar PK, Sharma B. A study of malnutrition and associated risk factors among children aged 06-59 months in urban area of Jabalpur district (M.P.). Indian Journal of Community Health; 2018.

Modjadji P, Pitso M. Maternal tobacco and alcohol use in relation to child malnutrition in Gauteng, South Africa: A retrospective analysis. Children. 2021;8(2):133.

Ersino G, Henry CJ, Zello GA. Suboptimal feeding practices and high levels of under nutrition among infants and young children in the rural communities of Halaba and Zeway, Ethiopia. Food and Nutrition Bulletin; 2016.

Turyashemererwa FM, Kikafunda J, Annan R, Tumuhimbise GA. Dietary patterns, anthropometric status, prevalence and risk factors for stunting among school children aged 5–11 years in Central Uganda. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics; 2013.

Akombi BJ, Agho KE, Merom D, Renzaho AM, Hall JJ. Child malnutrition in sub-Saharan Africa: A meta-analysis of demographic and health surveys (2006-2016). Plos One; 2017.

World Health Organization. Double burden of malnutrition; 2019. Available:

Gari T, Loha E, Deressa W, Solomon T, Lindtjorn B. Malaria increased the risk of stunting and wasting among young children in Ethiopia: Result of a cohort study. Plos One; 2018.

Sinha RK, Dua R, Bijalwan V, Rohatgi S, Kumar P. Determinants of stunting, wasting or underweight in five high- burden pockets of four Indian states. Indian Journal of Community Medicine; 2018.

United Nations Children’s Fund, World Health Organization and World Bank Group. Joint malnutrition estimates; 2016.

Bronfenbrenner Urie, Morris Pamela A. The bioecological model of human development. Handbook of Child Psychology; 2007.

Food Agriculture Organization. Food and agriculture organization of the United Nations. Rome; 2018. Available:

World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa. Nutrition in the WHO African Region. Author; 2017.