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To compare infant and young child feeding practices in children aged 0–23 months across nine East and Southeast Asian countries.
Secondary analyses of cross-sectional data from available Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS; Indonesia, Philippines, Timor-Leste, Cambodia and Vietnam), Multiple Indicator Country Surveys (Lao People's Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) and Myanmar) and national nutrition surveys (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPR Korea) and Mongolia) conducted between 2000 and 2005.
Seven countries from Southeast Asia and two from East Asia.
Children aged 0–23 months with samples ranging from 826 to 5610 for DHS, and from 477 to 5860 for non-DHS data.
More than 93 % of infants were ever breast-fed, and over 75 % were currently breast-fed except in the Philippines. Timely initiation of breast-feeding varied from 32 % in Indonesia to 46 % in Timor-Leste. Exclusive breast-feeding (EBF) rate in infants under 6 months of age ranged from 11 % in Myanmar to 60 % in Cambodia. EBF rates were also low in Vietnam (15·5 %) and Lao PDR (23 %), and varied between 30 % and 40 % in Indonesia, Philippines and Timor-Leste. The proportion of infants under 6 months of age who were given breast milk with non-milk liquids was high except in Indonesia and Timor-Leste. Bottle-feeding rates were lower in DPR Korea (3 %), Lao PDR (6 %) and Myanmar (6 %) and higher in the Philippines (49 %) and Mongolia (31 %). Timely complementary-feeding rate varied widely across countries (6–99 %).
All the countries studied should make greater efforts to improve timely initiation of breast-feeding and EBF for 6 months. Measures should be taken to reduce high bottle-feeding rate in the Philippines, Mongolia, Indonesia and Vietnam, and improve complementary-feeding rate in Lao PDR, Myanmar, DPR Korea and Philippines.