Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


School of Public Health

First Advisor

Nicola L. Hawley

Second Advisor

Mayur M. Desai


The nutrition transition is associated with the rising burden of non-communicable diseases in low-and middle-income countries and in Samoa, young children are particularly vulnerable to malnutrition in various forms. In this present study, we documented the current prevalence and co-existence of child nutritional status outcomes within this population and by census region. We then examined the role of selected child, maternal, and household characteristics as potential predictors of child nutritional status. A cross-sectional, community-based design was used to collect data from singleton pairs of a non-pregnant mother and child between 24 to 59 months olds in the Samoan island of Upolu. Sixty-two out of 305 surveyed children (20.3%) were moderately or severely stunted (HAZ< -2SD), 16.1% were overweight/obese (BMIZ> 2SD), 2.3% were underweight (WAZ< -2SD), and 33.1% were anemic (Hb< 11.0 g/dL). Among the overweight/obese children, 28.6% were also classified as stunted and 42.9% anemic. Census region was not significantly associated with any child nutritional status outcome. Childhood stunting was significantly associated with being female and increased Vitamin C intake, while overweight/obesity was associated with higher family socio-economic status and decreased sugar intake. Child anemia was associated with increased age and having an anemic mother. This analysis identified no common predictors of nutritional status, highlighting the importance of different interventions that address specific forms of malnutrition in this age group. Remarkable levels of stunting, overweight/obesity, and anemia among young children suggest that it is critical to invest in nutrition and scale up health programs targeting early child development in Samoa.

Open Access

This Article is Open Access