Feeding of young children during diarrhea: Caregivers' intended practices and perceptions

Birte Pantenburg, Theresa J. Ochoa, Lucie Ecker, Joaquim Ruiz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Childhood diarrhea is an important cause of malnutrition, which can be worsened when caretakers limit nutritional support. We queried 390 caregivers and their children in a peri-urban community in Lima, Peru regarding general perceptions of feeding and feeding practices during diarrhea. Overall, 22.1% of caregivers perceived feeding during diarrhea to be harmful. At baseline, 71.9% of caregivers would discontinue normal feeding or give less food. Most would withhold milk, eggs, and meats. Approximately 40% of caregivers would withhold vegetables and fruits. A pilot educational intervention was performed to improve feeding during diarrhea. At follow-up survey 3 months later, none of the caregivers would recommend withholding food. Only 23.2% would recommend discontinuing normal feeding and 1.8% perceived food to be damaging. Misperceptions of the role of feeding during diarrhea pose a significant health risk for children, but a simple educational intervention might have a major impact on these perceptions and practices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)555-562
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Volume91
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2014

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