Comparison of feeding practices among rural and urban mothers and their effect on nutritional status of children
Objective: The objective of this study was to compare the nutritional status in infants based on infant feeding practices among
rural and urban areas. Methods: An observational study was carried out in the Department of Paediatrics of a tertiary care hospital
of New Delhi. The present study included a total of 1000 children, of which 500 were from rural and 500 from urban background
over a period of 1 year. Information on breastfeeding and complementary feeding practices was recorded. Results: In this study, we
found that early initiation of breastfeeding (within 1 h after birth) was significantly more common in urban area as compared to rural
(71.8% vs. 54.2%; p=0.001). Significantly higher proportion of mothers in urban population (88.0%) was frequently breastfeeding
their children than rural ones 76.0% (p=0.001). Practice of night feeding was same in both the groups. Practices of giving prelacteal
feeding were significantly higher in rural than in urban area (50.2% vs. 18.4%; p=0.001). Children in whom complementary
feeding was introduced beyond 6 months had significantly higher occurrence of malnutrition (68.6% vs. 55.4%; p=0.004). Type of
complementary feed did not affect the occurrence of malnutrition. Conclusion: Exclusively, breastfed children below 6 months of
age and children where complementary feeding is introduced timely at 6 months have lower incidence of malnutrition as compared
to those given top feeding before 6 months and inappropriate complementary feeding beyond 6 months of age.
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