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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.
To develop a composite index to describe the overall breast-feeding performance of infants < 6 months of age; and, using this index, to identify the factors associated with poor breast-feeding practices and the association between breast-feeding and infant morbidity.
Design, setting and subjects
The 2003 Demographic and Health Survey was a multi-stage cluster sample survey of 4320 households in Timor-Leste which covered 573 infants aged < 6 months. Breast-feeding Performance Index (BPI) was constructed by allocating one point for each of seven infant feeding practices: first suckling within an hour of birth; absence of prelacteals; non-use of feeding bottles; current breast-feeding; not receiving liquids; not receiving formula or other milk; and not receiving solids in the last 24 hours. BPI was treated as the dependent variable in univariate and multivariate analyses to identify the factors associated with poor breast-feeding.
Exclusive breast-feeding rate was 29.9%. The BPI (mean 4.4, standard deviation 1.77) was categorised as low, average and high according to tertiles. Multivariate analysis indicated that infants from the richest households were 1.70 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.04–2.77) times more likely to have ‘low BPI’ than the poorest. Maternal BMI < 18.5 kg m− 2 was predictive of poor breast-feeding (odds ratio = 1.79; 95% CI 1.27–2.52). In the ‘low’ BPI group, the incidence of diarrhoea (13.4%) and acute respiratory infections (20.7%) during the previous two weeks was significantly higher than in ‘average’ (4.3 and 9.3%) and ‘high’ BPI groups (4.6 and 5.5%).
Creating a composite index to assess the overall breast-feeding performance among infants < 6 months of age is feasible. BPI can be effectively used to identify target groups for breast-feeding promotion interventions.
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