Public Health Nutrition


An examination of environmental correlates with childhood height-for-age in Ghana

Ebenezer Nikoia1 c1 and Peter Anthamattena2

a1 Department of Geography, University of Minnesota, 414 Social Sciences Building, 267 19th Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA

a2 Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences, Auraria Campus, Denver, CO, USA


Objective The relationship between a child's environment and nutritional status is difficult to examine yet could offer an important guide to policy. The objective of the present work was to examine individual and environmental correlates with childhood height-for-age in Ghana.

Design Data were derived from the 2008 MEASURE Demographic and Health Survey in Ghana, the 2000 Ghana Population and Housing Census, and the World Wide Fund for Nature's eco-regions database. A generalized linear mixed regression model was used to estimate the effects of individual and environmental correlates on height-for-age.

Subjects The study examined 2225 Ghanaian children aged 0–59 months.

Setting The setting was all districts in Ghana for the year 2008.

Results After accounting for individual characteristics of children, mothers and households, height-for-age was significantly associated with population density. Other significantly associated variables in the final model were the age of the child, vaccination status, the size of the child at birth, months of breast-feeding, mother's BMI, whether the child's mother had health insurance and wealth quintile.

Conclusions In addition to a number of characteristics of the children and their households, the social milieu is important to understanding differences in height-for-age among children in Ghana. The biophysical environment was not associated with height-for-age.

(Received June 25 2011)

(Revised February 22 2012)

(Accepted March 30 2012)

(Online publication May 21 2012)


  • Childhood;
  • Nutrition;
  • Africa;
  • Environment


c1 Corresponding author: Email