oa South African Journal of Clinical Nutrition - Breastfeeding, complementary feeding and nutritional status of 6 - 12-month-old infants in rural KwaZulu-Natal
Objective. To determine breastfeeding, complementary feeding and nutritional status of 6 - 12-month-old rural infants.
Study design. A cross-sectional survey was done. Breastfeeding and complementary feeding practices were determined by questionnaire; an unquantified food frequency questionnaire was used to determine usual food intake. Biochemical assessment of nutritional status included determination of haemoglobin, serum retinol, ferritin and zinc concentrations. Body length and weight were measured.
Setting/subjects. Subjects included 505 infants aged 6 - 12 months living in the Valley of a Thousand Hills, a rural area in KwaZulu-Natal.
Results. Breastfeeding had been initiated in the case of 96% of the infants. Milk feeds at the time of the survey included breastmilk alone (58%), breastmilk plus bottle feeds (23%), and bottle feeds alone (18%). Formula feeds were either dilute (54%) or concentrated (14%). First solid foods given were maizemeal porridge (55%), infant cereals (32%), and ready-to-eat bottled baby foods (9%). Various energy-rich foods were added to the porridge for most of the infants. Biochemical data showed that 20% of infants had serum retinol levels < 20 µg/dl, 67% had serum ferritin levels < 12 µg/l, 49% had haemoglobin levels < 11 g/dl, and 32% had serum zinc levels < 60 µg/dl. Anthropometric data showed that 16% were stunted and 6% were underweight.
Conclusion. Inappropriate feeding practices and micronutrient deficiencies should be addressed. This can be done through the community health worker programme, provided that the community health workers have adequate knowledge of infant nutrition.
Article metrics loading...