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The Journal of Health, Population and Nutrition
ISSN: 1606-0997
EISSN: 1606-0997
Vol. 36, No. 1, 2017, pp. 1-8
Bioline Code: hn17021
Full paper language: English
Document type: Research Article
Document available free of charge

The Journal of Health, Population and Nutrition, Vol. 36, No. 1, 2017, pp. 1-8

 en Meal frequency and dietary diversity feeding practices among children 6–23 months of age in Wolaita Sodo town, Southern Ethiopia
Mekonnen, Tefera Chane; Workie, Shimelash Bitew; Yimer, Tesfa Mekonen & Mersha, Wubalem Fekadu


Background: Child feeding practices are multidimensional, and they change rapidly within short age intervals. Suboptimal complementary feeding practices contribute to a rapid increase in the prevalence of undernutrition in children in the age of 6–23 months. Information on child feeding practices among urban resident is limited in Ethiopia. The aim was to measure minimum meal frequency and dietary diversity and associated factors among children 6–23 months of age in Wolaita Sodo, Ethiopia.

Methods: A community-based cross-sectional study was carried out to select 623 mothers/caregivers with 6–23 months of children reside in Wolaita Sodo town using systematic sampling from March 02 to 20, 2015. An interviewer-administered questionnaire was used to gather information on socio-demographic, child feeding practices and health-related characteristics. Data were entered to Epi-Data version 3.02 and transported to SPSS version 21 for further analysis. Binary logistic regression was used to see the association between the outcome variables and explanatory variables, and multivariable logistic regression was performed to identify independent predictors of minimum dietary diversity and meal frequency.

Results: The study revealed that the percentage of 6–23 months of children who meet the recommended level of minimum dietary diversity and meal frequency were 27.3 and 68.9%, respectively. Mothers/caregivers who were housewives and government employees feed their children more diversified foods as compared to mothers who were private workers. As compared to children 17–23 months of age, children in the age group of 6–8 and 9–11 months had better probability to meet minimum dietary diversity. Government-employed and illiterate mothers were less likely to feed their children to fulfil the minimum requirement of meal frequency. Children in the age of 9–11 months were also less likely to be fed frequently.

Conclusions: Even though the study showed better progress as compared to the national prevalence of complementary feeding practices, child feeding practices in the study area were inadequate and not achieving WHO infant and young child feeding recommendations. Strengthening the available strategies and creating new intervention measures to improve socioeconomic status, maternal literacy and occupation opportunity for better practices of child feedings are compulsory actions for the government and policymakers.

Dietary diversity; Meal frequency; 6–23 months of children; Southern Ethiopia

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