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Variations between post- and pre-harvest seasons in stunting, wasting, and Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) practices among children 6-23 months of age in lowland and midland agro-ecological zones of rural Ethiopia

Kedir Teji Roba
Thomas Pacelli O’Connor
Tefera Belachew
Nora Mary O’Brien


Introduction: food availability and access are strongly affected by seasonality in Ethiopia. However, there are little data on seasonal variation in Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) practices and malnutrition among 6-23 months old children in different agro-ecological zones of rural Ethiopia. Methods: socio-demographic, anthropometry and IYCF indicators were assessed in post- and pre-harvest seasons among children aged 6–23 months of age randomly selected from rural villages of lowland and midland agro-ecological zones. Results: child stunting and underweight increased from prevalence of 39.8% and 26.9% in post-harvest to 46.0% and 31.8% in pre-harvest seasons, respectively. The biggest increase in prevalence of stunting and underweight between post- and pre-harvest seasons was noted in the midland zone. Wasting decreased from 11.6% post-harvest to 8.5% pre-harvest, with the biggest decline recorded in the lowland zone. Minimum meal frequency, minimum acceptable diet and poor dietary diversity increased considerably in pre-harvest compared to post-harvest season in the lowland zone. Feeding practices and maternal age were predictors of wasting, while women’s dietary diversity and children age was predictor of child dietary diversity in both seasons. Conclusion: there is seasonal variation in malnutrition and IYCF practices among children 6-23 months of age with more pronounced effect in midland agro-ecological zone. A major contributing factor for child malnutrition may be poor feeding practices. Health information strategies focused on both IYCF practices and dietary diversity of mothers could be a sensible approach to reduce the burden of child malnutrition in rural Ethiopia.

The Pan African Medical Journal 2016;24

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eISSN: 1937-8688