Mothers' Views on Food Security and Complementary Feeding: A Qualitative Study in Urban Iran

Nahid Salarkia, Maryam Amini, Morteza Abdollahi, Babak Eshrati, Tirang reza Neyestani
2014 Nutrition and Food Sciences Research  
and Objectives: Food insecurity may be associated with poor nutrition, which in turn can increase the risk of adverse nutrition and health outcomes among infants and toddlers. This study was undertaken in 2008 to gain an insight of mothers' views on complementary feeding practices and food security. Materials and Methods: In this qualitative study, data were collected through 10 Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) with groups of mothers who had under two-year-old children in the urban areas of
more » ... rban areas of Damavand (7 FGDs; n=51) and Varamin (3 FGDs; n=29). Each FGD was held in the presence of a moderator, two note takers, and an observer. All notes were collected, and the emerging themes were reported. Results: In the study, nine general themes were identified: 1) The mothers viewed adequate food as a food, which is useful for health in both quality and quantity; 2) Households have limited access to adequate food because they cannot afford it; 3) In hard situations, household's strategies are: changing the type and amount of food, and buying cheaper foods; 4) In case of poverty, mothers abstain from eating to save food for their children; 5) The mothers viewed complementary feeding as soft, simple and light foods, which are especially made for children; 6) The best time for introducing complementary feeding was 6 months of age; 7) There were no complementary local foods in the region; 8) For under one-year-old children, a different type of food was separately prepared; 9) Home-made complementary food was preferred over the readymade type. Conclusions: Despite mothers' sufficient knowledge about the advantages of complementary feeding, the majority of them had not good performance. This qualitative study provides a foundation and valuable information for future studies on the nutritional health of children in food insecure households. Keywords: Household food security, Belief, Infant feeding, Mothers, Infants, Qualitative research, Iran
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