Burden and trend of nutritional deficiency across regions in Ethiopia

Published October 20, 2023, in Ethiopian Journal of Health Development (opens in a new window)



In Ethiopia, nutritional deficiency has contributed to high child and maternal morbidity and mortality. Understanding the burden and trends of nutrition deficiency across the region helps policymakers and programmers to devise context-specific interventions. Therefore, this study estimated bthe burden and trends of nutritional deficiency at national and regional levels from 1990 to 2019.


This analysis is part of Global Burden of Diseases 2019 Study that estimated deaths, Years of Life Lost (YLL), Years Lived with Disability (YLD), and Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) attributable to protein energy malnutrition and common micro-nutrient deficiencies, and incidence and prevalence for Ethiopia at national and sub-national levels by sex, years and all age groups. 

The study used causes of death ensemble model (CODEm) and a Bayesian meta-regression disease modeling (DisMod-MR 2.1) techniques to analyze all accessible protein energy malnutrition and common micro-nutrient deficiencies related data sources. We calculated 95% uncertainty intervals (UI) for the point estimates.


In 2019, the age-standardized death rate due to protein energy malnutrition was 12.9 per 100,000 population. Age-standardizedized DALYs rate due to protein energy malnutrition was estimated to be 492 per 100,000 populations [95%UI: 381.4-654.7] in Ethiopia. The highest DALYs rate attributed to protein energy malnutrition was reported in Somali 1214 per 100,000 populations [95% UI: 804.6-1747.3], Benishangul-Gumuz 1088.5[95% UI: 771.0-1474.7], and Afar 998.0 [95% UI: 759.7-1281.0] regions. 

The prevalence of Iodine deficiency per 100, 000 populations was 9,671 [95%UI: 7,799- 12,099], 221 [95%UI:132-338], and 15451 [95%UI: 12,272-19,615] among all age groups, children under five years of age and reproductive age women, respectively. The prevalence rate of Vitamin A deficiency declined by 56% from 1990 to 2019. In 2019, the prevalence of dietary iron deficiency was highest in under-five children.


Reproductive-age women, children under five, and elderly people are disproportionately affected by protein-energy malnutrition. The prevalence of dietary iron, and Iodine deficiency was higher in all regions of Ethiopia and needs targeted intervention.

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Teklemariam W, Agachew M, Acham Y, et al. Burden and Trend of Nutritional deficiency across regions in Ethiopia: A systematic subnational analysis in Global Burden of Disease 2019 study. Ethiopian Journal of Health Development. 20 October 2023. eISSN: 1021-6790.