Poster Topical Area: Global Nutrition

Location: Hall D

Poster Board Number: 582

P12-083 - Association between animal-source complementary foods and linear growth in South Asian children

Monday, Jun 11
8:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Objectives: Child stunting is prevalent in South Asia. Previous studies suggest a relationship between child dietary diversity and linear growth. We hypothesize that animal-source foods (ASF) independently predict length or height in children aged 6-23 months.

We analyzed the most recent Demographic and Health Survey data in Bangladesh (2014), India (2005-06), Nepal (2011) and Pakistan (2012-13), where child intake of seven food groups in the previous 24 hours and height-for-age z-scores (HAZ) were measured. Results were adjusted for complex sampling designs. Multiple linear regression models were applied to explore the relationship between individual ASF and HAZ adjusting for age, breastfeeding status, dietary diversity score excluding the current ASF group, child sex, maternal height, BMI, education, antenatal care visits, place of residence, number of children under five, and household wealth.

The weighted study samples were 2,429 in Bangladesh, 14,937 in India, 1,431 in Nepal and 2,806 in Pakistan. Mean HAZ ranged from -1.2 in Nepal to -1.7 in India and overall dietary diversity ranged from 2.1 in India to 2.7 in Nepal out of 7 food groups. Dairy food was the most commonly fed ASF (ranging from 38% in Bangladesh to 59% in India). Meat and egg (% respectively) were more commonly fed in Bangladesh (44% and 28%) than in India (8% and 5%), Nepal (17% and 9%) and Pakistan (18% and 25%). In the adjusted model, meat and dairy intake were associated with 0.17 and 0.12 SD increases in mean HAZ, respectively, in Bangladesh. In India, intake of meat and eggs was associated with 0.25 and 0.17 SD respective increase in mean HAZ. Individual ASF items were not associated with HAZ in Nepal and Pakistan.

After adjusting for total dietary diversity and social-demographic predictors, animal-source foods were independently associated with child linear growth in Bangladesh and India. Promoting meat, egg, and dairy consumption may be an important strategy to improve child growth and reduce stunting in South Asia.

Funding Source: UNICEF Regional Office for South Asia (ROSA)

CoAuthors: Victor Aguayo – United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF); Mary Arimond – FHI 360; Christine Stewart – University of California, Davis

Muzi Na

Assistant Professor
The Pennsylvania State University
University Park, Pennsylvania