In order to reduce malnutrition, one must understand its causes. The immediate determinants of a child’s nutritional status are the child’s dietary intake and health. These, in turn, are influenced by three household-level underlying determinants: food security, adequate care for mothers and children, and a proper health environment. Finally, the underlying determinants are influenced by the basic determinants: the potential resources available to a country or community, and a host of political, cultural, and social factors that affect their utilization. The study focuses on the underlying determinants, using four variables to represent them: national food availability (for food security), women’s education and women’s status relative to men’s (for the quality of care), and access to safe water (for the quality of the health environment). It also explores two basic determinants, using per capita national income to capture the availability of resources in a country and democracy as an indicator of the political context that influences malnutrition.