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Behavior-change trials to assess the feasibility of improving complementary feeding practices and micronutrient intake of infants in rural Bangladesh.
Food and Nutrition Bulletin. 2004 Sep; 25(3):228-238.This study used simple rapid-assessment techniques to test the feasibility of increasing the consumption of complementary foods by infants by asking mothers to increase meal quantity or frequency or by altering the viscosity/energy density of the food. The feasibility of using micronutrient supplements either added directly to food or administered as liquid drops was also examined. The study was conducted in rural Bangladesh and involved four separate short-term behavioral change trials. Depending on the trial, fieldworkers recruited 30 to 45 infants 6 to 12 months of age. Following recommendations to increase the amount of food provided to infants, the mean intakes from single meals increased from 40 ± 23 g on day 1 to 64 ± 30 g on day 7 (p < 0.05). In a second trial, the mean meal frequency increased from 2.2 ± 1.3 on day 1 to 4.1 ± 1.3 on day 7 (p < 0.05). Provision of high-energy-density diets, prepared by decreasing viscosity with a-amylase or by hand-mashing rice and dhal into a paste before feeding, increased single-meal energy consumption from 54 ± 35 kcal to 79 ± 52 kcal or 75 ± 37 kcal (p < 0.05), respectively. Both types of micronutrient supplements were well accepted and used according to recommendations. In conclusion, it was possible to change short-term child-feeding behaviors to promote increased food intake, meal frequency, energy density, and micronutrient consumption. Because each of these interventions lasted for only about 1 week, however, the long-term sustainability of these changes is not known. Moreover, the effect of increased feeding of complementary foods on intakes of breastmilk and total daily consumption of energy and nutrients requires further study. (author's)