Introduction: malnutrition contributes to half of all deaths among children under-five years in developing countries such as Uganda. Optimal complementary feeding is one of the crucial interventions that could prevent these deaths. This study measured adherence to complementary feeding guidelines and its associated factors among caregivers of children aged 6-23 months in Lamwo district, rural Uganda.
Methods: a household cross-sectional study was used to collect data on adherence to complementary feeding among 349 caregivers. A composite variable with 9 indicators of complementary feeding was used to measure adherence. Univariable and multivariable logistic regression was used for statistical analysis using STATA software.
Results: a household cross-sectional study was used to collect data on adherence to complementary feeding among 349 caregivers. A composite variable with 9 indicators of complementary feeding was used to measure adherence. Univariable and multivariable logistic regression was used for statistical analysis using STATA software.nearly all (97.7%, 341/349) children had ever been breastfed. Complementary feeding was initiated at six months for 47.0% (164/349) of the children. The number of complementary meals ranged from 1-4 meals per day with a mean of 3 meals per day (SD = 0.8). About half (55.8%, 195/349) of the children were given less than the recommended amount of food. Overall only 40.1% (140/349) of all study respondents were adherent to complementary feeding guidelines. The odds of adherence to complementary feeding were higher among caregivers with children aged 6-8 months (AOR = 4.68, 95% CI: 1.91-11.48), children whose fathers had attained 8 or more years of formal education (AOR = 2.27, 95% CI: 1.22-4.19), caregivers with two children under five years (AOR = 5.46, 95% CI: 1.46-20.36), those living in the poorest households (AOR = 3.00, 95% CI: 1.37-6.57) and those who showed willingness to recommend initiation of complementary feeding at six months to another mother (AOR = 1.34 95% CI: 1.06-1.70).
Conclusion: adherence to complementary feeding guidelines was very low in this rural African setting indicating an urgent need for interventions such as health education to improve adherence with consequent reduction in rates of under nutrition. These interventions should target caregivers with older children, fathers with less than 8 years of formal education and those living in the wealthiest households.