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To study infant and young child feeding (IYCF) practices and their association with nutritional status among young children.
A community-based, cross-sectional study was carried out in ten states of India, using a multistage random sampling method. Anthropometric measurements such as length/height and weight were conducted and nutritional assessment was done using the WHO child growth standards.
National Nutrition Monitoring Bureau survey, 2011–2012.
Children aged <3 years and their mothers.
Only 36 % of infants received breast-feeding within an hour of birth and 50 % were exclusively breast-fed up to 6 months. Prevalence of underweight, stunting and wasting was 38, 41 and 22 %, respectively. The chance of undernutrition among <3-year-old children was significantly higher among those from scheduled caste/scheduled tribe communities, the lowest-income group, with illiterate mothers and lack of sanitary latrine. Among infants, the chance of undernutrition was significantly higher among low-birth-weight babies, and among children whose mother had not consumed iron–folic acid tablets during pregnancy. Immunization practices and minimum dietary diversity were observed to be associated with undernutrition among 12–23-month-old children.
Undernutrition is still an important public health problem in India and observed to be associated with low socio-economic status, illiteracy of mother, low birth weight and dietary diversity. Improving socio-economic and literacy status of mothers can help in improving maternal nutrition during pregnancy and thus low birth weight. Also, improving knowledge of mothers about IYCF practices will help in improving children’s nutritional status.
To study consumer knowledge and use of food labels.
A cross-sectional study employing both quantitative and qualitative methods. Intercept interviews were conducted with 1832 consumers at supermarket sites selected using a stratified random sampling procedure. This information was triangulated with twenty-one focus group discussions.
New Delhi and Hyderabad, two metro-cities from north and south India.
While the national urban literacy rate is 84 %, about 99 % of the study participants were educated. About 45 % reported that they buy pre-packaged foods once weekly and about a fifth buy them every day. Taste, quality, convenience and ease of use are the main reasons for buying pre-packaged foods. Although 90 % of consumers across the age groups read food labels, the majority (81 %) looked only for the manufacturing date or expiry/best before date. Of those who read labels, only a third checked nutrition information and ingredients. Nutrient information on labels was not often read because most consumers either lacked nutrition knowledge or found the information too technical to understand. About 60 % read quality symbols. A positive association was found between education level and checking various aspects of food labels. Women and girls concerned about ‘fat’ and ‘sugar’ intake read the nutrition facts panel.
The intention of promoting healthy food choices through use of food labels is not being completely met. Since a majority of people found it difficult to comprehend nutrition information, there is a need to take up educational activities and/or introduce new forms of labelling.
To assess the magnitude and determinants of vitamin A deficiency (VAD) and coverage of vitamin A supplementation (VAS) among pre-school children.
A community-based cross-sectional study was carried out by adopting a multistage, stratified, random sampling procedure.
Rural areas of eight states in India.
Pre-school children and their mothers were covered.
A total of 71 591 pre-school children were clinically examined for ocular signs of VAD. Serum retinol concentrations in dried blood spots were assessed in a sub-sample of 3954 children using HPLC. The prevalence of Bitot spots was 0·8 %. The total ocular signs were significantly higher (P < 0·001) among boys (2·6 %) compared with girls (1·9 %) and in older children (3–4 years) compared (P < 0·001) with younger (1–2 years), and were also high in children of labourers, scheduled castes and illiterate mothers. The odds of having Bitot spots was highest in children of scheduled caste (OR = 3·8; 95 % CI 2·9, 5·0), labourers (OR = 2·9; 95 % CI 2·1, 3·9), illiterate mothers (OR = 2·7; 95 % CI 2·2, 2·3) and households without a sanitary latrine (OR = 5·9; 95 % CI 4·0, 8·7). Subclinical VAD (serum retinol level <20 μg/dl) was observed in 62 % of children. This was also relatively high among scheduled caste and scheduled tribe children. The rate of coverage of VAS was 58 %.
The study revealed that VAD is a major nutritional problem and coverage of VAS was poor. The important determinants of VAD were illiteracy, low socio-economic status, occupation and poor sanitation. Strengthening the existing VAS programme and focused attention on dietary diversification are essential for prevention of VAD.
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