Research Article: Sociodemographic factors associated with inadequate food group consumption and dietary diversity among infants and young children in Nepal

Date Published: March 11, 2019

Publisher: Public Library of Science

Author(s): Yeji Baek, Stanley Chitekwe, Massimo Ciccozzi.

http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0213610

Abstract

Infants and young children need diversified diets to grow healthy. However, there is limited evidence on factors associated with consumption of various food groups. This study aimed to identify the sociodemographic factors associated with inadequate food group consumption and not meeting the minimum dietary diversity (MDD) among infants and young children aged 6–23 months in Nepal. Using cross-sectional data from the 2016 Nepal Demographic and Health Survey, the factors at the individual-, household-, and community-levels associated with not consuming foods from the seven food groups, which are grains, roots and tubers, legumes and nuts, dairy products, flesh foods, eggs, vitamin-A rich fruits and vegetables, and other fruits and vegetables, and not meeting the MDD were examined. The least consumed food group was eggs, followed by flesh foods and 46.5% of children received the MDD. Children aged 6–11 months had higher odds of not consuming foods from the seven food groups and not meeting the MDD than older children. Children from the poorest quintile had higher odds of not consuming legumes and nuts, dairy products, flesh foods, and other fruits and vegetables, and not meeting the MDD. Children from Terai/Madhesi Other had higher odds of not consuming foods from the seven food groups compared to those from the other groups. Children from Province 2 had higher odds of not consuming eggs, vitamin-A rich fruits and vegetables, and other fruits and vegetables, and not meeting the MDD. Dietary diversity among children in Nepal needs improvement. National policies and programs need to promote the consumption of diverse food groups by considering different sociodemographic characteristics.

Partial Text

Infant and young child feeding (IYCF) is critical for child health, development and survival [1, 2]. As infants reach 6 months of age, they need to begin consuming soft, semi-solid, and solid foods in addition to breast milk [3]. Complementary feeding is defined as the process starting when breast milk alone is no longer sufficient to meet the nutritional requirements of infants, therefore other foods and liquids are needed in addition to breast milk [1]. A lack of healthy complementary feeding practices is the main cause of undernutrition which is a direct cause of mortality [1]. Food must come from a variety of food groups to ensure that children receive all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients they need to grow, develop, stay healthy, and reach their full potential [3]. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that complementary foods should be varied and include quantities of meat, eggs, vitamin A-rich fruits, and vegetables every day [4]. The Minimum Dietary Diversity (MDD) is one of the core indicators developed by the WHO to measure IYCF practices together with early initiation of breastfeeding; exclusive breastfeeding under 6 months; continued breastfeeding at 1 year; introduction of soft, semi-solid or solid foods; minimum meal frequency; minimum acceptable diet; and consumption of iron-rich or iron-fortified foods [2]. The MDD is defined as the proportion of children who receive foods from four or more food groups out of the following seven food groups, grains, roots and tubers, legumes and nuts, dairy products, flesh foods, eggs, vitamin-A rich fruits and vegetables, and other fruits and vegetables [2]. Dietary data from children 6–23 months of age in ten developing countries showed that consumption of foods from at least four food groups on the previous day would mean that the child had a high likelihood of consuming at least one animal-source food and at least one fruit or vegetable, in addition to a staple food [5].

Food and feeding practices from birth to age two have a profound impact on the rest of a child’s life [3]. Our study examined the consumption rate of seven food groups and the MDD distribution among infants and young children aged 6–23 months by individual, household, and community level factors in Nepal. We also identified the factors associated with inadequate food group consumption and the MDD. The consumption rate of the food groups ranged from 13.6% for eggs to 92.1% for grains, roots and tubers and less than half (46.5%) of children met the MDD. Age and caste/ethnic groups were consistently associated with not consuming foods from the seven food groups and not meeting the MDD. Wealth was associated with not consuming legumes and nuts, dairy products, flesh foods, and other fruits and vegetables and not meeting the MDD. Province was associated with not consuming grains, roots and tubers, legumes and nuts, eggs, vitamin-A rich fruits and vegetables, and other fruits and vegetables and not meeting the MDD.

 

Source:

http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0213610

 

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