Child nutrition during conflict and displacement: evidence from areas affected by the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria

F. Iacoella*, N. Tirivayi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objectives: The objective of this study is to examine the association between forced displacement and child nutritional status among households affected by the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria.

Study design: The study design is a cross-sectional analysis.

Methods: Cross-sectional survey data from 1278 host community households and 531 internally displaced households in north eastern Nigeria were used. Acute child malnutrition was measured using the mid-upper arm circumference. The main independent variable was self-reported internal displacement. Household, child, and community characteristics were included as covariates. Probit and ordinary least squares regressions were used to model the association between forced displacement and child malnutrition.

Results: Displacement was associated with a 57% increase in the likelihood of acute malnutrition and the effects were notable among infants and in areas with a greater incidence of conflict. Displacement also significantly reduced dietary diversity and increased hunger.

Conclusions: Conflict-induced displacement is associated with poor child nutritional status, and this is potentially achieved through the reduction of household dietary diversity and food security. The use of data from areas affected by an ongoing conflict provides insights that can shape nutrition policies and humanitarian assistance planning. (C) 2020 The Royal Society for Public Health. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)132-137
Number of pages6
JournalPublic Health
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020


  • Armed Conflicts
  • Article
  • Boko Haram
  • Child Nutrition Disorders
  • Child nutritional status
  • Child, Preschool
  • Conflict
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Forced displacement
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Nigeria
  • Refugees
  • acute disease
  • arm circumference
  • child
  • child health
  • child nutrition
  • clinical feature
  • conflict
  • controlled study
  • cross-sectional study
  • dietary intake
  • disease association
  • displacement behavior
  • educational status
  • female
  • food intake
  • food security
  • forced migration
  • health care planning
  • health disparity
  • health survey
  • human
  • hunger
  • incidence
  • infant
  • least squares method
  • male
  • malnutrition
  • nutrition policy
  • nutritional disorder
  • nutritional status
  • preschool child
  • refugee
  • regression analysis
  • self report
  • social conflict
  • war


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