Consumption of highly processed snacks, sugar-sweetened beverages and child feeding practices in a rural area of Nicaragua.Matern Child Nutr. 2016 Jan; 12(1):164-76.MC
Appropriate feeding behaviours are important for child growth and development. In societies undergoing nutrition transition, new food items are introduced that may be unfavourable for child health. Set in rural Nicaragua, the aim of this study was to describe the infant and young child feeding (IYCF) practices as well as the consumption of highly processed snack foods (HP snacks) and sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs). All households with at least one child 0- to 35-month-old (n = 1371) were visited to collect information on current IYCF practices in the youngest child as well as consumption of SSBs and HP snacks. Breastfeeding was dominant (98%) among 0- to 1-month-olds and continued to be prevalent (60%) in the second year, while only 34% of the 0- to 5-month-olds were exclusively breastfed. Complementary feeding practices were deemed acceptable for only 59% of the 6- to 11-month-old infants, with low dietary diversity reported for 50% and inadequate meal frequency reported for 30%. Consumption of HP snacks and SSBs was frequent and started early; among 6- to 8-month-olds, 42% and 32% had consumed HP snacks and SSBs, respectively. The difference between the observed IYCF behaviours and World Health Organization recommendations raises concern of increased risk of infections and insufficient intake of micronutrients that may impair linear growth. The concurrent high consumption of SSBs and HP snacks may increase the risk of displacing the recommended feeding behaviours. To promote immediate and long-term health, growth and development, there is a need to both promote recommended IYCF practices as well as discourage unfavourable feeding behaviours.