Nutrient intakes from complementary foods (CFs) in low and middle income countries are often inadequate. The objective of this study was to estimate the nutrient intake adequacy of infant and young children (IYC) aged 6-23 months, in pastoralist communities of Ethiopia.
Using a cross-sectional study conducted, the complementary feeding practices, socio-demographic and nutritional status were investigated. The contribution of food groups to nutrient intakes, and the nutrient density of CFs consumed by breastfed (n= 718) and non-breastfed (n= 178) IYC was also estimated. Nutrient intakes were compared with WHOâs estimated nutrient needs from complementary foods.
Wasting, underweight, and stunting were 10.9%, 21.6% and 31.8%, respectively. Dairy (non-breast milk) was widely consumed, followed by cereals. Consumption of nutrient-dense foods such as meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and vitamin A-rich fruits and vegetables was very low. Dietary diversity was in the low (0-2) to medium (3-4) range, with the majority being in the former. Energy intake did not meet the WHO estimated need. Protein intakes were adequate. Deficits in the intake of multiple micronutrients including thiamin, niacin, iron, zinc, and calcium and in some instances in vitamin-A and C were observed in young children. For infantsâ 6-11 months of age, the complementary diets were adequate in protein, thiamin, riboflavin, calcium, vitamin-A and C, but not in iron and zinc.
Despite a unique dietary pattern dominated by dairy, nutrient intakes from CFs are inadequate in pastoralist communities of Ethiopia.