Child wasting continues to be a major public health concern in South Asia, having a prevalence above the emergency threshold. This paper aimed to identify factors associated with wasting among children aged 0-23 months, 24-59 months, and 0-59 months in South Asia. A weighted sample of 564,518 children aged 0-59 months from the most recent demographic and health surveys (2014-2018) of five countries in South Asia was combined. Multiple logistic regression analyses that adjusted for clustering and sampling weights were used to examine associated factors. Wasting prevalence was higher for children aged 0-23 months (25%) as compared to 24-59 months (18%), with variations in prevalence across the South Asian countries. The most common factor associated with child wasting was maternal BMI [adjusted odds ratio (AOR) for 0-23 months = 2.02; 95% CI: (1.52, 2.68); AOR for 24-59 months = 2.54; 95% CI: (1.83, 3.54); AOR for 0-59 months = 2.18; 95% CI: (1.72, 2.77)]. Other factors included maternal height and age, household wealth index, birth interval and order, children born at home, and access to antenatal visits. Study findings suggest need for nutrition specific and sensitive interventions focused on women, as well as adolescents and children under 2 years of age.
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