There is evidence that suboptimal complementary feeding contributes to poor child growth. However, little is known about time trends and determinants of complementary feeding in Nepal, where the prevalence of child undernutrition remains unacceptably high. The objective of the study was to examine the trends and predictors of suboptimal complementary feeding in Nepali children aged 6–23 months using nationally representative data collected from 2001 to 2014. Data from the 2001, 2006, and 2011 Nepal Demographic and Health Surveys and the 2014 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey were used to estimate the prevalence, trends and predictors of four WHO-UNICEF complementary feeding indicators: timely introduction of complementary foods (INTRO), minimum meal frequency (MMF), minimum dietary diversity (MDD), and minimum acceptable diet (MAD). We used multilevel logistic regression models to identify independent factors associated with these indicators at the individual, household and community levels. In 2014, the weighted proportion of children meeting INTRO, MMF, MDD, and MAD criteria were 72%, 82%, 36% and 35%, respectively, with modest average annual rate of increase ranging from 1% to 2%. Increasing child age, maternal education, antenatal visits, and community-level access to health care services independently predicted increasing odds of achieving MMF, MDD, and MAD. Practices also varied by ecological zone and sociocultural group. Complementary feeding practices in Nepal have improved slowly in the past 15 years. Inequities in the risk of inappropriate complementary feeding are evident, calling for programme design and implementation to address poor feeding and malnutrition among the most vulnerable Nepali children.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Obstetrics and Gynecology
- Nutrition and Dietetics
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health