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Are complementary foods provided to 6-24 months old children meeting the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines? Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) data from four countries
Authors: Bernadette Marriott, Patrick Nasarre, FuShing Lee, Ann Poole, and John Wallingford
Source: FASEB Journal, 29(1 Supplement)
Topic(s): Child health
Children under five
Country: Africa
  Multiple African Countries
  Multiple Asian Countries
Published: APR 2015
Abstract: WHO recommends provision of complementary foods with sufficient diversity across seven food groups and iron-rich foods to meet nutritional needs that also are measured by four solid food feeding indicators (FI). Earlier studies have reported positive associations between meeting the FI and economic status or maternal education. We assessed complementary feeding practices among children 6-24 months of age using comparable DHS data and the WHO FI among four countries of dissimilar economic status: Egypt, Indonesia, Philippines, and Cameroon (GDP= 6,600; 5,200; 4,700; 2,400 USD/capita, respectively). Significant differences existed among the countries in meeting the FI, consuming the WHO food groups, and reported intake of specific fortified foods such as baby cereal (all p<0.01). Percent of children meeting the WHO guidelines did not parallel GDP. Cameroon had significantly fewer children meeting all four of the solid food FI (p<0.01) than the other countries, yet children in Cameroon were significantly more likely to be fed with meat, vitamin A rich foods, and fruits than children in Egypt (p<0.01). While Philippines had a lower GDP than Egypt and Indonesia, it had a higher percentage of children meeting all four FI's (p<0.01) and mothers completing secondary school or higher education. Among these four countries, maternal educational achievement appears to be a better predictor of complementary feeding practices than country GDP