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Social determinants of malnutrition among Serbian children aged <5 years: ethnic and regional disparities



To assess the association between growth indicators of Serbian children aged <5 years of Roma and non-Roma populations and social determinants of health.


This study used a cross-sectional secondary data analysis design to measure national and Roma population samples from the MICS 4 (UNICEF) performed in 2010 in Serbia. A total of 4,978 questionnaires were observed with children aged <5 years. Logistic regression analysis was performed to identify association between social determinants of health and growth indicators.


Roma children were more than three times more likely to exhibit stunted and/or severely stunted than non-Roma children from the lowest wealth quintile. Non-Roma children residing outside of the Belgrade region had a lower risk of stunted compared to children residing within the Belgrade region, while the risk of stunted among Roma children was nearly twofold greater than those residing in southern and eastern Serbia than in the Belgrade region.


Our findings clarified the necessity to establish ethnically and regionally sensitive programs to solve the malnutrition problems.

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The authors thank UNICEF for providing data sets of Serbian-national and Roma Settlements sample of MICS 4 survey. This study was supported by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development, Serbia, Project No. 175025.

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Correspondence to Jelena Brcanski.

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Brcanski, J., Jović-Vraneš, A., Marinković, J. et al. Social determinants of malnutrition among Serbian children aged <5 years: ethnic and regional disparities. Int J Public Health 59, 697–706 (2014).

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  • Ethnicity
  • Regional disparities
  • Malnutrition
  • Roma
  • Poverty