Warning: these figures indicate the number of cases found in the data file. They cannot be interpreted as summary statistics of the population of interest.
For surviving children born in the three to five years before the survey, HWHAZWHO (HW70) reports the difference between the child's height and the median height of a reference population of the same age and sex, expressed in units equal to one standard deviation of the reference population's distribution. An anthropometry measure expressed in reference standard deviation units is also known as a Z-score. HWHAZWHO values are reported in units equal to 100 times the Z-score, to preserve two decimal places without requiring the use of a decimal point. Dividing HWHAZWHO by 100 will yield a child's height-for-age Z-score (HAZ) value.
Low child height-for-age, or "stunting," is an indicator of chronic malnutrition. The WHO Global Database on Child Growth and Malnutrition [URL omitted from DDI.] considers a height-for-age Z-score (HAZ) between -2 and -3 to represent moderate chronic malnutrition, and HAZ below -3 to represent severe chronic malnutrition.
Reference populations used to generate HWHAZWHO draw from the WHO Multicenter Growth Reference Study (MGRS) [URL omitted from DDI.] released in 2006, which defined new standard anthropometry curves using a globally diverse reference population intended to reflect healthy growth conditions. For DHS samples that preceded WHO MGRS release, DHS retroactively calculated height-for-age Z scores using WHO MGRS reference data.
Prior to the WHO MGRS, DHS anthropometry reference populations drew from 1978 U.S. CDC National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) international growth reference [URL omitted from DDI.], which was the previous international standard reference. The DHS variable HWHAZNCHS reports the child's height-for-age Z-score value using the NCHS/CDC 1978 reference population. DHS has continued to release versions of all child anthropometric variables using NCHS/CDC 1978 reference populations, to preserve comparability with samples preceding the 2006 WHO MGRS release.
HWHEIGHT (HW3) reports the child's length or height as measured by DHS personnel. See this variable and HWHTHOWMEAS (HW15) for specifics on child length/height measurement. The related variable KIDAGEMO (HW1) reports the child's age in months at the time of measurement.