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Diet quality and risk of stunting among infants and young children in low- and middle-income countries
Authors: Julia Krasevec, Xiaoyi An, Richard Kumapley, France Begin, Edward A. Frongillo
Source: Maternal and Child Nutrition, 13(Suppl 2): e12430; DOI: 10.1111/mcn.12430
Topic(s): Child health
Country: More than one region
  Multiple Regions
Published: OCT 2017
Abstract: Age-appropriate complementary feeding practices are far from optimal among low- and middle-income countries with available data. The evidence on the association between feeding practices and linear growth is mixed. We sought to systematically examine the association between two indictors of dietary quality—dietary diversity and animal source food (ASF) consumption (WHO, 2008)—and stunting (length-for-age z-score) employing existing data from 39 Demographic and Health Surveys. Data on 74,548 children aged 6–23 months were pooled and multiple logistic regression models, adjusting for child, maternal, and household characteristics, employed to assess the association between dietary quality and stunting. Stratified models by child age and by World Bank country-income classifications (World Bank, 2015) were also applied. Children aged 6–23 months consuming zero food groups in the previous day had a 1.345 higher odds of being stunted when compared to the reference group (=5 food groups); those who did not consume any ASF in the previous day had a 1.436 higher odds of being stunted compared to children consuming all three types of ASF (egg, meat, and dairy). We estimated that 2,629 cases of stunting would have been averted (12.6% of those stunted) among the population studied if all children had consumed five or more food groups. Outcomes by country-income groupings showed larger associations of diet diversity and ASF consumption for upper- and lower-middle income countries compared to low-income countries. In summary, dietary diversity and ASF consumption were associated with stunting, with associations varying by stratified groups.