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J Nutr. 2005 Mar;135(3):444-51.

Low nutrient intakes among infants in rural Bangladesh are attributable to low intake and micronutrient density of complementary foods.

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Program in International Nutrition, Department of Nutrition, University of California, Davis, CA, USA.


We assessed the adequacy of nutrient intakes of 135 rural Bangladeshi breast-fed infants 6-12 mo of age and examined nutritional trade-offs due to possible displacement of breast milk by complementary foods. Observers completed 12-h daytime measurements of breast milk and complementary food intakes; data for the previous 12 h were obtained from maternal recall, yielding estimates of total 24-h intakes. On average, infants were mildly wasted (mean +/- SD weight-for-length Z-score = -0.92 +/- 0.88) and moderately stunted (length-for-age Z-score = -1.49 +/- 0.96). Total energy intakes at 6-8 and 9-12 mo were 88 and 86% of absolute energy requirements (kJ/d), 106 and 105% of requirements per kg body weight, and 97 and 94% of requirements per kg median weight-for-length, respectively. Breast milk contributed 78% of energy intake at 6-8 mo and 75% at 9-12 mo. Mean meal frequency and energy density of complementary foods were generally consistent with recommendations, but only small amounts of food were offered. Nevertheless, only 72% of the food energy offered was consumed. Total energy intake was positively correlated with meal frequency, quantity consumed per meal, and energy intake from breast milk, but not with energy density of complementary foods. Energy intake from complementary foods was inversely related to energy intake from breast milk. The diets fell short of recommended intakes for numerous vitamins and minerals. We conclude that although greater intakes of complementary foods were associated with higher total energy intake, micronutrient intake remained low due to the low micronutrient density of the complementary foods consumed and the partial displacement of breast milk.

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