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Publication Title

Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal








Background: There is a paucity of data on the secular trends of stunting and overweight among children aged < 5 years in oil-rich countries in the Middle East.

Aims: To examine the secular trends of stunting, underweight and overweight in children aged < 5 years in Kuwait between 2007 and 2019.

Methods: We used large individual data records (n=48 108) from the Kuwait Nutritional Surveillance System (KNSS) to calculate height/length-for-age z score (HAZ), weight-for-age z score and body mass index (BMI)-for-age z score using World Health Organization growth references. Stunting and underweight were defined as less than -2 standard deviation (SD) and overweight (including obesity) as ≥ 2 SD. Trends of stunting, underweight and overweight were investigated using logistic regression models.

Results: The prevalence of stunting, underweight and overweight was 5.15%, 2.33% and 10.78%, respectively. Stunting increased during the study period, among children aged < 2 years. There was no increasing trend in overweight during the study period. These findings were corroborated by the distribution of HAZ and BMI-for-age z scores. Current prevalence of combined stunting and overweight was 1.53% in boys and 1.98% in girls.

Conclusion: Current prevalence of stunting and underweight is low in Kuwait indicating that undernutrition is no longer a major public health issue. There is a tendency for stunting to increase in children aged less than 2 years, highlighting the need to investigate early causes of stunting such as maternal and pregnancy-related factors.

Original Publication Citation

Alqaoud, N., & Al-Taiar, A. (2022). Trends of stunting, underweight and overweight among children aged < 5 years in Kuwait: Findings from Kuwait nutritional surveillance system (2007-2019). Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal, 28(6), 407-417.


0000-0001-7421-3381 (Al-Taiar)