Association of Urban Slum Residency with Infant Mortality and Child Stunting in Low and Middle Income Countries
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This study aimed to (i) examine the contextual influences of urban slum residency on infant mortality and child stunting over and above individual and household characteristics and (ii) identify factors that might modify any adverse effects. We obtained data from Demographic and Health Surveys conducted in 45 countries between 2000 and 2009. The respondents were women (15-49 years) and their children (0-59 months). Results showed that living in a slum neighborhood was associated with infant mortality (OR = 1.34, 95% CI = 1.15-1.57) irrespective of individual and household characteristics and this risk was attenuated among children born to women who had received antenatal care from a health professional (OR = 0.79, 95% CI = 0.63-0.99). Results also indicated that increasing child age exacerbated the risk for stunting associated with slum residency (OR = 1.19, 95% CI = 1.16-1.23). The findings suggest that improving material circumstances in urban slums at the neighborhood level as well as increasing antenatal care coverage among women living in these neighborhoods could help reduce infant mortality and stunted child growth. The cumulative impact of long-term exposure to slum neighborhoods on child stunting should be corroborated by future studies.
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