Open Access Nutritional value of locally produced foods and potential for developing age-appropriate complementary foods for children under 2 years of age in Mali

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Background. Promotion of dietary diversity using locally available nutritious foods is an effective approach in low-income areas to improve the quality of young children's diet and, hence, their growth and development.

Objective. To identify the nutritional values of locally acceptable, feasible, affordable, and sustainable foods and develop a number of recipes that could be used to complement effectively nutrient intakes provided through breastfeeding to children 6 to 23 months of age in Bandiagara, Mali.

Methods. Structured questionnaires were used to obtain lists of all locally available foods during village assembly meetings and identify the food basket of house-holds and child feeding practices during interviews with mothers and fathers. The nutritional values of the foods were estimated, and the Malian food composition table was used to identify the combinations that would result in the most nutritious recipes.

Results. Breastfeeding was widely practiced, but the rate of exclusive breastfeeding during the first 6 months of life was extremely low (7%). The practice of early introduction of water and complementary foods was a problem. Forty recipes for improved dishes, including puddings, drinks and juices, purées, salads, and soups, were proposed. The nutritional values of the 10 most nutritious of these recipes, the types and quantities of the ingredients, and the method of preparation of each recipe are described.

Conclusions. Locally produced indigenous foods in rural Mali were used to develop energy- and nutrientdense complementary foods for children. Further research is needed to test the short- and long-term effects of consuming these dishes on the nutritional status of children 6 to 23 months of age in Mali.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2010

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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