|Estimates and trends of zero vegetable or fruit consumption among children aged 6–23 months in 64 countries
|Courtney K. Allen, Shireen Assaf, Sorrel Namaste & Rukundo K. Benedict
|PLOS Global Public Health , 3
Multiple African Countries
Multiple Asian Countries
Multiple L.A./Caribbean Countries
More than one region
|Children require a diverse diet, that includes vegetables and fruits, to support growth and development and prevent non-communicable diseases. The WHO-UNICEF established a new infant and young child feeding (IYCF) indicator: zero vegetable or fruit (ZVF) consumption among children aged 6–23 months. We estimated the prevalence, trends, and factors associated with ZVF consumption using nationally representative, cross-sectional data on child health and nutrition in low-and-middle-income countries. We examined 125 Demographic and Health Surveys in 64 countries conducted between 2006–2020 with data on whether a child ate vegetables or fruits the previous day. Prevalence of ZVF consumption was calculated by country, region, and globally. Country trends were estimated and tested for statistical significance (p<0.05). Logistic regression analysis was used to examine the relationship between ZVF and child, mother, household, and survey cluster characteristics by world region and globally. Using a pooled estimate of the most recent survey available in each country, we estimate the global prevalence of ZVF consumption as 45.7%, with the highest prevalence in West and Central Africa (56.1%) and the lowest in Latin America and the Caribbean (34.5%). Recent trends in ZVF consumption varied by country (16 decreasing, eight increasing, 14 no change). Country trends in ZVF consumption represented diverse patterns of food consumption over time and may be affected by the timing of surveys. Children from wealthier households and children of mothers who are employed, more educated, and have access to media were less likely to consume ZVF. We find the prevalence of children aged 6–23 months who do not consume any vegetables or fruits is high and is associated with wealth and characteristics of the mother. Areas for future research include generating evidence from low-and-middle-income countries on effective interventions and translating strategies from other contexts to improve vegetable and fruit consumption among young children.