Public Health - International Health
Responsive feeding behaviors and children’s nutritional status in rural Bangladesh
The proposed study examines the relation between caregivers’ feeding behaviors (e.g., responsive and nonresponsive feeding) and children’s nutritional status in rural Bangladesh where childhood undernutrition continues to contribute to child mortality, morbidity and delayed development. Although access to foods and nutrients plays a central role in early nutrition, variability in the caregiver-child feeding context (e.g., caregiver-child feeding interactions or “feeding behaviors”) also influence children’s eating patterns and growth. To date, most interventions targeting the prevention of undernutrition have focused primarily on food and micronutrient supplementation, and communication strategies around breastfeeding and the amounts and types of complementary foods offered. However, caregiver feeding behaviors that reinforce and support appropriate infant and young child diet and growth are receiving increasing attention. The proposed research occurs in the context of an ongoing randomized controlled trial evaluating the impact of complementary food supplementation on childhood nutrition and health outcomes in rural areas of Bangladesh; and utilizes multiple methods (semi-structured in-depth interviews, focus group discussions, observations, and questionnaires) to 1) develop and validate a culturally appropriate responsive feeding behavior questionnaire, 2) quantify the nutritive value of complementary foods consumed by young children in the ongoing trial, and 3) examine the relationship between caregiver feeding behaviors and children’s diet and nutritional status. Findings from the proposed research will provide the preliminary data and tools (e.g., responsive feeding questionnaire) needed to obtain subsequent funding to test the efficacy of responsive feeding interventions designed to improve children’s nutritional status in South Asia.