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Review

How Seasonality of Malnutrition Is Measured and Analyzed

1
Feinstein International Center, Tufts University, Boston, MA 02111, USA
2
Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University, Boston, MA 02111, USA
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Paul B. Tchounwou
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(4), 1828; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18041828
Received: 30 December 2020 / Revised: 8 February 2021 / Accepted: 10 February 2021 / Published: 13 February 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Infectious Disease Modeling in the Era of Complex Data)
Seasonality is a critical source of vulnerability across most human activities and natural processes, including the underlying and immediate drivers of acute malnutrition. However, while there is general agreement that acute malnutrition is highly variable within and across years, the evidence base is limited, resulting in an overreliance on assumptions of seasonal peaks. We review the design and analysis of 24 studies exploring the seasonality of nutrition outcomes in Africa’s drylands, providing a summary of approaches and their advantages and disadvantages. Over half of the studies rely on two to four time points within the year and/or the inclusion of time as a categorical variable in the analysis. While such approaches simplify interpretation, they do not correspond to the climatic variability characteristic of drylands or the relationship between climatic variability and human activities. To better ground our understanding of the seasonality of acute malnutrition in a robust evidence base, we offer recommendations for study design and analysis, including drawing on participatory methods to identify community perceptions of seasonality, use of longitudinal data and panel analysis with approaches borrowed from the field of infectious diseases, and linking oscillations in nutrition data with climatic data. View Full-Text
Keywords: acute malnutrition; seasonality; methodology; Africa; dryland acute malnutrition; seasonality; methodology; Africa; dryland
MDPI and ACS Style

Marshak, A.; Venkat, A.; Young, H.; Naumova, E.N. How Seasonality of Malnutrition Is Measured and Analyzed. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 1828. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18041828

AMA Style

Marshak A, Venkat A, Young H, Naumova EN. How Seasonality of Malnutrition Is Measured and Analyzed. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(4):1828. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18041828

Chicago/Turabian Style

Marshak, Anastasia, Aishwarya Venkat, Helen Young, and Elena N. Naumova. 2021. "How Seasonality of Malnutrition Is Measured and Analyzed" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18, no. 4: 1828. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18041828

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