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Infant and Young Child Feeding in Developing Countries


concerning this article should be addressed to Edward A. Frongillo, Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, 800 Sumter Street, Room 216, Columbia, SC 29208. Electronic mail may be sent to


Feeding practices are important determinants of growth and development of children. Using infant and young child feeding indicators and complementary feeding guidelines, 7 practices in 28 countries are described, showing substantial variation across countries. Only 25% of 0- to 5-month-olds were exclusively breastfed, and only half of 6- to 8-month-olds received complementary foods the previous day. Median duration of breastfeeding and increase of fluid intake during diarrhea were low among countries with a high Human Development Index (HDI). Living in high-HDI countries may not translate to positive feeding practices. Across countries, there is a need for promotion, protection, and support of optimal breastfeeding and complementary feeding practices as well as better adherence to recommendations for feeding during illness.