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Keywords:

  • complementary feeding;
  • infant and child nutrition;
  • child growth;
  • health policy;
  • low-income countries

Abstract

The Haitian National Nutrition Policy identifies the promotion of optimal complementary feeding (CF) practices as a priority action to prevent childhood malnutrition. We analysed data from the nationally representative 2005–2006 Haiti Demographic Health Survey using the World Health Organization 2008 infant and young child feeding indicators to describe feeding practices among children aged 6–23 months and thus inform policy and programme planning. Multivariate regression analyses were used to identify the determinants of CF practices and to examine their association with child growth outcomes. Overall, 87.3% of 6–8-month-olds received soft, solid or semi-solid foods in the previous 24 h. Minimum dietary diversity (MDD), minimum meal frequency (MMF) and minimum acceptable diet (MAD) were achieved in 29.2%, 45.3% and 17.1% of children aged 6–23 months, respectively. Non-breastfed children were more likely to achieve MDD than breastfed children of the same age (37.3% vs. 25.8%; P < 0.001). The proportion of children achieving MMF varied significantly by age (P < 0.001). Children with overweight mothers were more likely to achieve MDD, MMF and MAD [odds ratio (OR) 2.08, P = 0.012; OR 1.81, P = 0.02; and OR 2.4, P = 0.01, respectively] than children of normal weight mothers. Odds of achieving MDD and MMF increased with household wealth. Among mothers with secondary or more education, achieving MDD or MAD was significantly associated with lower mean weight-for-age z-score and height-for-age z-score (P-value <0.05 for infants and young child feeding indicator × maternal education interaction). CF practices were mostly inadequate and contributed to growth faltering among Haitian children 6–23 months old.