Complementary feeding practices, dietary diversity, and nutrient composition of complementary foods of children 6–24 months old in Jimma Zone, Southwest Ethiopia|
Forsido, Sirawdink Fikreyesus; Kiyak, Nejat; Belachew, Tefera & Hensel, Oliver
Background: Mothers and caregivers typically feed infants according to their culture, purchase power and level of
awareness with no due diligence to nutritional quality of the diet. Scientific evidence on nutritional adequacy of
predominant complementary foods is critical for planning and prioritising interventions. The purpose of the current
study was to evaluate the quality of complementary foods and the optimality of complementary feeding practices
in Southwest Ethiopia.
Methods: In this cross-sectional study, a stratified multistage sampling procedure was used to sample 433 children,
6–24 months old. A semi-structured questionnaire was used to collect demographic, socio-economic and dietary
data. Dietary diversity score was measured using a 24-h dietary recall. Six customary complementary food types
were assayed for proximate composition, energy and mineral density using standard methods. Adequacy of the
complementary foods in nutrients for complementary feeding purposes was assessed as a ratio between actual
composition and recommended composition of complementary foods.
Results: Only 16.1% of the children get the minimum dietary diversity. The children were reported to be fed with
cereals & grains (68.8%), discretionary calories (53.6%), protein-rich foods (44.6%), oils and fat (40.5%), vegetables (38.
5%), dairy products (17.9%) and fruits (28.1%). The sampled foods contained 4.3–24.4%, 0.9–8.5%, 8.2–11.9%,
27.9–162.6 Kcal/100 g, 168.4–250.4 mg/100 g, 1.8–4.1 mg/100 g and 22.5–42.4 mg/100 g of total carbohydrate, crude
fat, protein, energy content, calcium, zinc and iron, respectively. All the complementary food samples
predominantly fed to children were not composed of adequate protein, fat, carbohydrate, energy and calcium as
recommended for complementary feeding purposes. However, most of the complementary foods are composed of
adequate iron and zinc.
Conclusions: The nutrient density and diversity of complementary foods of 6–24-month-old children in the study
area were found to be sub-optimal. Upgrading the nutritional composition of the starchy complementary foods
should be of highest priority to improve nutrition of the infants and young children.
Dietary diversity; Nutrient adequacy; Complementary foods; Proximate composition