Young children’s capability to reach dietary requirements with local foods is questioned. Linear programming (LP) was applied to develop food-based recommendations (FBRs) improving dietary adequacy of children aged 6-23 months in Tigray, Ethiopia. We also assessed whether a locally produced complementary food product (CF), micronutrient powders (MNPs) or small-quantity lipid supplements (sq-LNS) improve nutrient adequacy in these children.
Dietary adequacy was assessed using the Ethiopian National Food Consumption Survey data, including foods consumed by >3% of 472 children aged 6-23 mo. LP analysis (Optifood) was used to develop FBRs for three age-groups: 6-8, 9-11 and 12-23 mo; identify âproblem-nutrients’ for which intake is insufficient and determine dietary adequacy of combinations of FBR’s, CF, MNP or sq-LNS.
Preliminary analysis showed insufficient intake for multiple nutrients. Dietary adequacy can be improved with FBRs promoting: breastfeeding (all age groups), fortified cereals and dairy daily (6-8 mo); dairy, vegetables, teff daily and twice/day legumes (9-11 mo); dairy, eggs and vegetables daily with twice/day legumes and whole grains (12-23 mo children). However, nutrient gaps remain for iron and zinc in 6-8 mo; for zinc and niacin in 9-11 mo and for zinc in 12-23 mo children. Combining FBRs promotion with MNPs or sq-LNS can further improve nutrient adequacy.
Current nutrient adequacy in 6-23 month old Tigray children’s diet is poor but can be improved optimizing intakes of local foods. Addition of MNPs or sq-LNS can further increase dietary adequacy for zinc, iron and niacin.