DHAKA, May 31, 2019 (BSS) – Health experts said timely introduction to complementary feeding would significantly contribute to prevent child malnutrition.
Inappropriate and insufficient complementary food feedings are largely responsible for poor nutritional status among the children of the country, they said while talking to BSS.
Professor Dr Khursheed Jahan, former teacher of Institute of Nutrition and Food Science of Dhaka University, said people do not have adequate knowledge on complementary foods which lead their children to different degrees of malnutrition.
“We can feed our children from different family food items as complementary food,” she said, adding that people should acquire knowledge on how to prepare nutritious diets by making it suitable for children. Professor Khursheed observed that most of the people follow less diversified diets with poor food values, which lead their children to malnutrition.
She said the government and different non-government organizations should launch large-scale publicity campaign to make the people aware about appropriate complementary feeding practices.
Young child needs 30 to 40 percent fat out of total food demand for his proper physical growth, Dr Khursheed said, adding that parents should be careful to feed the food items which contain fat elements.
“We can get enough fat for our children from egg, milk, butter and oil and we can feed these food items to young children easily,” she said.
Dr Khursheed said, “We can prepare complementary food with rice, pulse, oil, egg and vegetables, which contained high calories. The complementary food by mixing these items is very much effective for children and prices of these foods are also cheap.”
Former Director of Institute of Public Health Nutrition (IPHN) Prof Dr Fatima Parveen Chowdhury said only 24 percent people follow appropriate complementary feeding practices, which depict poor complementary feeding practices of the country. Many mothers do not know how to prepare nutritious diets for their children, she added.
Prof Fatima observed many families do not feed their child daily food items including vegetable, fishes and meat as complementary food. Poor complementary practice is the main cause of child malnutrition of the country, she added.
According to nutritionists, children should begin receiving complementary foods as soon as they reach six months of age. This transition is required because the concentration of some nutrients, such as zinc and to a lesser extent iron, are relatively low in human breast milk and after six months of age it is difficult for infants to meet their nutrient needs from human breast milk alone, they added.
UNICEF and WHO recommended that children should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life and that children be given solid or semi-solid complementary foods beginning with the seventh month of life.
WHO recommends the introduction of solid or semi-solid food to children around the age of six months, because by that time breast milk alone is no longer sufficient to maintain a child’s optimal growth.