Higher household expenditure on animal-source and nongrain foods lowers the risk of stunting among children 0-59 months old in Indonesia: Implications of rising food prices

Mayang Sari, Saskia De Pee, Martin W. Bloem, Kai Sun, Andrew L. Thorne-Lyman, Regina Moench-Pfanner, Nasima Akhter, Klaus Kraemer, Richard D. Semba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Because the global financial crisis and high food prices affect food consumption, we characterized the relationship between stunting and nongrain food expenditure at the household level among children 0-59 mo old in Indonesia's rural and urban poor population. Expenditure and height-for-age data were obtained from a population-based sample of 446,473 children in rural and 143,807 in urban poor areas in Indonesia. Expenditure on food was grouped into categories: animal, plant, total nongrain, and grain. The prevalence of stunting in rural and urban poor areas was 33.8 and 31.2%, respectively. In rural areas, the odds ratios (OR) (5th vs. first quintile) for stunting were similar for proportion of household expenditure on animal (0.87; 95% CI = 0.85-0.90; P < 0.0001), plant (0.86; 95% CI = 0.84-0.88; P < 0.0001), and total nongrain (0.85; 95% CI = 0.83-0.87; P < 0.0001). In urban poor areas, the relationship between stunting and proportion of household expenditure on animal sources was stronger than in rural areas (OR 0.78; 95% CI = 0.74-0.81; P < 0.0001), whereas the relationship with nongrain was similar to rural areas (OR 0.88; 95% CI = 0.85-0.92; P < 0.0001) and no relationship was observed with plant sources (OR 0.97; 95% CI = 0.93-1.01; P = 0.13). For grain expenditure, OR for stunting in highest vs. lowest quintile was 1.21 (95% CI = 1.18-1.24; P < 0.0001) in rural and 1.09 (95%CI = 1.04-1.13; P < 0.0001) in urban poor areas. Thus, households that spent a greater proportion on nongrain foods, in particular animal source foods, had a lower prevalence of child stunting. This suggests potential increased risk of malnutrition associated with reductions of household expenditure due to the current global crises.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)195S-200S
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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