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Public Health Nutr. 2015 Mar;18(4):669-78. doi: 10.1017/S1368980014000834. Epub 2014 May 20.

Determinants of inadequate complementary feeding practices among children aged 6-23 months in Ghana.

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1School of Science and Health,University of Western Sydney,Penrith,NSW 2751,Australia.
2School of Medicine,University of Western Sydney,Penrith,New South Wales,Australia.
3Sydney School of Public Health,University of Sydney,Sydney,New South Wales,Australia.



To explore complementary feeding practices and identify potential risk factors associated with inadequate complementary feeding practices in Ghana by using the newly developed WHO infant feeding indicators and data from the nationally representative 2008 Ghana Demographic and Health Survey.


The source of data for the analysis was the 2008 Ghana Demographic and Health Survey. Analysis of the factors associated with inadequate complementary feeding, using individual-, household- and community-level determinants, was done by performing multiple logistic regression modelling.




Children (n 822) aged 6-23 months.


The prevalence of the introduction of solid, semi-solid or soft foods among infants aged 6-8 months was 72.6 % (95 % CI 64.6 %, 79.3 %). The proportion of children aged 6-23 months who met the minimum meal frequency and dietary diversity for breast-fed and non-breast-fed children was 46.0 % (95 % CI 42.3 %, 49.9 %) and 51.4 % (95 % CI 47.4 %, 55.3 %) respectively and the prevalence of minimum acceptable diet for breast-fed children was 29.9 % (95 % CI 26.1 %, 34.1 %). Multivariate analysis revealed that children from the other administrative regions were less likely to meet minimum dietary diversity, meal frequency and acceptable diet than those from the Volta region. Household poverty, children whose mothers perceived their size to be smaller than average and children who were delivered at home were significantly less likely to meet the minimum dietary diversity requirement; and children whose mothers did not have any postnatal check-ups were significantly less likely to meet the requirement for minimum acceptable diet. Complementary feeding was significantly lower in infants from illiterate mothers (adjusted OR=3.55; 95 % CI 1.05, 12.02).


The prevalence of complementary feeding among children in Ghana is still below the WHO-recommended standard of 90 % coverage. Non-attendance of postnatal check-up by mothers, cultural beliefs and habits, household poverty, home delivery of babies and non-Christian mothers were the most important risk factors for inadequate complementary feeding practices. Therefore, nutrition educational interventions to improve complementary feeding practices should target these factors in order to achieve the fourth Millennium Development Goal.



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