Feeding of Infants and Young Children in South Asia

28 Pages Posted: 29 Nov 2018 Last revised: 8 Dec 2018

See all articles by Harriet Torlesse

Harriet Torlesse

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)

Dhushyanth Raju

World Bank

Date Written: November 28, 2018

Abstract

Poor breastfeeding and complementary feeding practices predict child stunting and wasting in South Asia, suggesting that initiatives to end undernutrition in the region should focus on improving the diets of young children. This review of the literature finds that South Asia has made relatively good progress in improving breastfeeding practices compared with other regions, but the lack of diversity in complementary foods and low frequency of feeding continue to be problems. Children who are most at risk of experiencing poor feeding include those who are born small, have younger mothers, and live in poorer households or in communities with less access to, or lower uptake of, primary health services. Initiatives to improve feeding practices have not produced substantial improvement, particularly in complementary feeding, because such efforts have lacked the coverage, intensity, comprehensiveness, and continuity needed. Policy, legal, and program actions to protect, promote, and support recommended feeding practices should be informed by situation analyses and formative research on context-specific drivers of poor practices. The actions should involve multiple sectors and stakeholders, including governments, the private sector, communities, and households.

Keywords: Early Child and Children's Health, Nutrition, Reproductive Health, Health Care Services Industry, Educational Sciences, Social Protections & Assistance

Suggested Citation

Torlesse, Harriet and Raju, Dhushyanth, Feeding of Infants and Young Children in South Asia (November 28, 2018). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 8655. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3292609

Harriet Torlesse (Contact Author)

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) ( email )

New York City, NY
United States

Dhushyanth Raju

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

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