Meeks Gardner, Julie; Walker, Susan P.; Gavin, Karlene A.; Ashworth, Ann
Author Affiliation, Ana.
Caribbean Child Development Centre
Complementary foods in Jamaica: viscosity, energy density and feeding practices
Public Health Nutrition
Date of Publication
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Objectives: To develop and validate a field method for measuring the viscosity of small quantities of weaning porridges, to measure the viscosity and energy density of porridges fed in urban and rural environments, and to relate the findings to ingredients used and feeding practices. Design: A new method for determining the viscosity of homogeneous, semi-solid weaning foods was developed. The viscosity and energy density of porridges fed to young children were measured, ingredients obtained by recall, and caregiver feeding behaviours observed. Setting: One urban and one rural community in Jamaica. Subjects: A purposive random sample of 70 children aged 3 to 14 months. Results: Most children (80%) were fed porridges with medium viscosity (17002900 mPa s) or thicker. The mean energy density was 3.18±0.92 kJ g-1. Energy density was only moderately related to viscosity, being higher only in porridges >4000 mPa s (analysis of variance (ANOVA), P<0.05). Energy density was correlated (P<0.05) with the amounts of sugar (r=0.28) and milk powder (r=0.24) used. Viscosity and energy density were lower in porridges fed by bottle than in those fed by spoon. Anthropometric status (weight-for-length and weight-for-age) was positively correlated with energy density of the porridge but not to the encouragement or persistence of the caregiver. Conclusions: Porridges of adequate energy density were prepared by caregivers in Jamaica without raising viscosity to levels that might constrain intakes. Improvements in porridge preparation and more varied weaning diets may have contributed to the decline in undernutrition in Jamaica.....