Socioeconomic, environmental, demographic and behavioral factors associated with occurrence of diarrhea in young children in the Republic of Congo

Soc Sci Med. 1993 Mar;36(6):807-16. doi: 10.1016/0277-9536(93)90041-2.


This study is the result of a cross-sectional survey undertaken in five regions of the Republic of Congo. A sample of 612 women having children under 3 years of age was interviewed to determine the socioeconomic, environmental, demographic and behavioral factors associated with the occurrence of diarrhea in young children. Logistic regression analysis was used to determine which variables predict the occurrence of diarrhea in a multivariable context. Most of the statistically significant variables were those suggesting behaviorally mediated modes of transmission. These include: type of weaning food fed to the child, maternal age, sex of the child, maternal sickness and method of refuse disposal. Male children had a more than two-fold odds of experiencing recent diarrhea than did female children among those greater than 1 year of age. Although breastfeeding status was not statistically significantly associated with diarrheal disease, children under 1 year of age who were already weaned had a greater odds of disease than those who were still breasted. Due to the pattern of extended breastfeeding in this population, this relationship was difficult to assess. Urban residence also was highly associated with diarrheal disease occurrence. Urban residence is likely to reflect a host of socioeconomic, environmental and behavioral factors. These findings underscore the potential impact of educational interventions on the occurrence of diarrheal disease among young children.

MeSH terms

  • Breast Feeding
  • Child, Preschool
  • Congo / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Demography
  • Diarrhea / epidemiology*
  • Diarrhea / etiology
  • Diarrhea, Infantile / epidemiology
  • Diarrhea, Infantile / etiology
  • Environment
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Sanitation
  • Socioeconomic Factors