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Maternal preferences for consistency of complementary foods in Guatemala

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Increasing the nutrient density of complementary food mixtures is a common strategy for improving child nutrition in developing countries. Such modification, however, typically increases the viscosity of the mixtures, which may not appeal to caretakers or children. To assess maternal preference for complementary food consistency, 46 rural Guatemalan mothers, each of whom had a child between 6 and 14 months of age, were interviewed by trained data collectors and participated in focus group discussions. Strong opinions regarding consistencies of complementary foods were identified, which varied according to the child's age and health status. Mothers preferred thinner complementary foods for children less than one year old and thicker foods for children more than one year old. When the child had a cough or fever, most mothers preferred thin, liquid complementary foods. When the child had diarrhoea, about half of the mothers believed thinner complementary foods would replace the water the child lost with diarrhoea, whereas other mothers believed that thicker complementary foods would harden the stool or stop diarrhoea. This information will help guide efforts to develop improved complementary foods, particularly those for use during illness in underprivileged populations of developing countries.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 1998

More about this publication?
  • Established in 1978, the Food and Nutrition Bulletin (FNB) is a peer-reviewed journal published quarterly by the Nevin Scrimshaw International Nutrition Foundation.

    The focus of the journal is to highlight original scientific articles on nutrition research, policy analyses, and state-of-the-art summaries relating to multidisciplinary efforts to alleviate the problems of hunger and malnutrition in the developing world.

    Food and Nutrition Bulletin's 2012 Impact Factor: 2.106

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