Examining the relationship between socioeconomic status, WASH practices and wasting

Mohammad Jyoti Raihan, Fahmida Dil Farzana, Sabiha Sultana, Md Ahshanul Haque, Ahmed Shafiqur Rahman, Jillian L. Waid, Ben McCormick, Nuzhat Choudhury, Tahmeed Ahmed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Childhood wasting is a global problem and is significantly more pronounced in low and middle income countries like Bangladesh. Socio Economic Status (SES) and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) practices may be significantly associated with wasting. Most previous research is consistent about the role of SES, but the significance of WASH in the context of wasting remains ambiguous. The effect of SES and WASH on weight for length (WHZ) is examined using a Structural Equation Model (SEM) to explicitly describe the direct and indirect role of WASH in the context of SES.A nationally representative survey of 10,478 Bangladeshi children under 5 were examined. An expert defined SEM was used to construct latent variables for SES and WASH. The SEM included a direct pathway from SES to WHZ and an indirect pathway from SES to WHZ via WASH along with regression of relevant covariates on the outcome WHZ and the latent variables. Both SES (p<0.01) and WASH (p<0.05) significantly affect WHZ. SES (p<0.01) also significantly affects WASH. Other structural components showed that child's age (p<0.01) affects WHZ and types of residence (p<0.01) affects SES. WASH practices at least partially mediate the association between SES and wasting status. WASH and SES are both significantly associated with WHZ.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0172134
JournalPloS ONE
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 9 Mar 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was made possible by the committed contribution and partnership of James P Grant School of Public Health (JPGSPH), BRAC University and icddr,b. This project itself is a joint partnership between JPGSPH, BRAC University, Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics and Helen Keller International (HKI), Bangladesh and funded by European Commission.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Raihan et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


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