, Volume 74, Issue 4, pp 363-368
Date: 25 May 2007

Index for measuring child feeding practices

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Abstract

Objective

The present investigation was undertaken with the objective of creating an Infant and Child Feeding Index (ICFI) from a set of complementary feeding (CF) practices and to determine its association with growth of infants and young children (6-23months).

Methods

A semi-structured interview schedule was used to collect information for 204 children from one large slum (n=104) and two private pediatric clinics (n=100) of urban Vadodara.

Results

Results revealed that about half (50.5%) of the children were stunted Ht for Age Z score (HAZ<-2SD), nearly one-fourth (25.5%) were underweight Wt for Age Z score (WAZ<-2SD), but wasting (WHZ Wt for Ht Z score<-2SD) was low (3%). Significant associations were revealed between almost all positive CF practices and nutritional status of the children as measured by HAZ and WAZ (p<0.01), but not with WHZ. Good associations were revealed between ICFI and HAZ and WAZ, but not with WHZ. On multivariate analysis of factors affecting the HAZ, WAZ and WHZ scores, ICFI was not found to be significant whereas maternal education was the most significant factor, which was also found to be associated significantly with ICFI.

Conclusion

It is concluded that the composite index in its present form can reflect the CF practices more holistically than just one or few behaviors studied separately. More research is needed in the direction of constituting a composite index which can then be used for research, monitoring, evaluation and much needed advocacy for complementary feeding.