Feeding Practices and Factors Contributing to Wasting, Stunting, and Iron-deficiency Anaemia Among 3-23-month Old Children in Kilosa District, Rural Tanzania|
Mamiro, Peter S.; Kolsteren, Patrick; Roberfroid, Dominique; Tatala, Simon; Opsomer, Ann S. & Van Camp, John H.
Infants in Tanzania are particularly vulnerable to under-nutrition during transition from breastmilk (as the only source of nourishment) to solid foods. A cross-sectional study was undertaken in Kilosa district in Tanzania to determine the feeding practices and the extent of wasting, stunting, and iron-deficiency anaemia. The study was done in two stages: in the first stage, a 24-hour dietary assessment was conducted to identify the type of complementary foods given and the eating habits according to age for 378 children aged 3-23 months. In the second stage, a progressive recruitment of 309 infants aged six months was made to measure weight, length, haemoglobin (Hb) concentration, zinc protoporphyrin concentration, and malaria parasitaemia. Birth-weight, the potential contributing factor to under-nutrition and iron-deficiency anaemia, was obtained from the children's clinic cards. The 24-hour dietary assessment revealed that children consumed mainly a thin porridge prepared from maize flour as complementary food. Carbohydrates contributed most energy (on average 69%), followed by fats (18.6%) and protein (on average 12.1%). The complementary food covered only 15%, 20%, and 27% of the recommended iron intake for children aged 6-8, 9-11 and 12-23 months respectively. The mean Hb concentration was 9.3±1.9 g/dL, 68% of the infants were moderately anaemic(7-<11 g/dL), and about 11% were severely anaemic with Hb below 7 g/dL, while 21% were non-anaemic Hb ( ≥11 g/dL). Equally, the mean zinc protoporphyrin concentration was 10.0±6.2 μg/g Hb, and 76% of the infants were iron-deficient(>5 μg/g Hb). The prevalence of stunting was 35%, while wasting was only 1.3%. Low birth-weight and low body mass index of mothers were the strong predictors of stunting, whereas low birth-weight and iron-deficiency were the strong predictors of anaemia. The prevalence of malaria parasitaemia was high, affecting 50% of the infants. Having malaria was the only independent predictor associated with stunting, anaemia, and iron-deficiency. There is an urgent need to improve traditional complementary foods in the studied community in terms of energy density, amount of fat in the diet, and bioavailability of macro and micronutrients.
Infant-feeding practices; Anaemia, Iron-deficiency; Birth-weight; Infant nutritional status; Child nutritional status; Cross-sectional studies; Tanzania