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Does faulty feeding practices act as a driver to undernutrition? A comparative study on rural and urban preschool children in Western Uttar Pradesh

Shaili Vyas, Sushmita Sonkar, Sadhna Singh, Abhay Srivastava, Parul Sharma, Kajal Srivastava.


Background: India is home to the largest number of underweight and stunted children in the world. While several studies have focused on the determinants of child’s nutrition status in India, little attention has been given to the aspect of rural-urban variation in child’s nutritional status. Bearing in mind that around 70% of India’s population resides in the rural area, the study of rural-urban divergence in nutritional status as indicator can be appreciated naturally.

Objective: The objective of the study is to compare the feeding practices of children in the initial six months of life in rural and urban setting and to find out any relation between early feeding practices and nutritional status of young children.

Materials and Methods: A community-based study was conducted for 2 months in the field practice areas of a tertiary care hospital. Multistage random sampling technique was used for the selection of study subjects. A total of 117 under-five children were studied equally from rural and urban area. A pre-designed pre-tested proforma was used to assess the feeding practices. Stunting and underweight were used to proxy the child nutrition status. Data were evaluated on SPSS version 17. Chi-square test was used to compare the feeding practices and to find out their association with nutritional status in the two areas.

Results: Undernutrition was found in children who initiated early artificial feeds, i.e., in the first 6 months of life, were given over diluted milk, were bottle fed, and had inappropriate weaning practices in both the areas.

Conclusions: Faulty feeding practices were found in both areas, but some of the parameters were still better in urban areas. Faulty feeding practices were found to be a significant predictor for undernutrition.

Key words: Nutritional Status; Infant Feeding Practices; Rural; Urban; Faulty Feeding

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