Impact of education and provision of complementary feeding on growth and morbidity in children less than 2 years of age in developing countries

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Complementary feeding interventions have a potential to improve the nutritional status of in developing countries. However, large scale high quality randomized controlled trials are required to assess the actual impact of this intervention on growth children and morbidity in children 6-24 months of age. Education should be combined with provision of complementary foods that are affordable, particularly for children in food insecure countries.

The period between six and twenty-four months is the most critical time for growth for infants. Undernutrition can lead to adverse effects on this period of growth and in some cases, may result in death. Sixteen studies were included in this review with their quality assessed. This review aimed to assess the effects of complementary feeding (CF) and education on complementary feeding (CFE) on children <2 years old in low and middle-income countries. Results found CFE significantly improved height-for-age Z score (HAZ), weight-for-age Z score (WAZ) as well as reducing rates of stunting. No significant effect was observed on height gain nor weight gain. Food secure population analysis showed CFE had a significant impact on height gain, HAZ and weight gain, but not on stunting. CFE improved stunting, HAZ and WAZ in food insecure populations, as well as CF also showing improvement in HAZ and WAZ.

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