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Abstract

Child malnutrition is a problem that poses social and economic costs to individuals, households, communities, and nations, like Bolivia. Childhood malnutrition can be reduced through effective policy and health interventions such as those of the Consejo de Salud Rural Andino (CSRA) in Montero, Bolivia. The CSRA is a non-profit, private organization that operates three health care clinics in Montero, Bolivia. Low-income mothers and their children are provided with free or minimal-cost public health education and basic pre- and post natal medical services . Three separate clinic areas serve three different populations in terms of child nutritional status and demographic and socioeconomic characteristics. Effectiveness and priority intervention points for reducing childhood malnutrition can be identified by a thorough understanding of socio-economic and demographic characteristics as they relate to child nutrition status. Survey data were collected from 180 women with children under the age of five living in the CSRA clinic coverage area. Data focused on child health, nutrition, anthropometric data, and household socioeconomic and demographic characteristics. Multivariate regression analysis was used to explain child nutrition status as indicated by anthropometric indices. The regression models included child-specific, maternal, and household factors. Regression models were estimated for three anthropometric indices: weight-for-age, height-for-age, and weight-for-height. CSRA initiatives were found to have made a positive contribution to child and maternal health care. However, child malnutrition remains which is inversely associated with critical demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of the various households such as maternal education and household income and wealth.

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