In order to better understand the effect of infant and young child feeding (IYCF) practices on stunting, study authors assessed the nutritional status of 293 infants and children (0 and 24 months), living in 14 communities in the provinces of Tungurahua and Chimborazo in Ecuador.
A cross-sectional study design, using the WHO IYCF indicators to assess feeding practices; estimate dietary intake with 24-h recalls; and identify nutritious local foods by food frequency questionnaires. Multiple regression modelling was performed to identify correlates of nutritional status.
Stunting was found in 56.2% of children, but early initiation of breastfeeding, higher socioeconomic status, consumption of iron-rich foods and higher dietary protein density were found to be protective. Interventions that promote and support optimal breastfeeding practices and enable increased consumption of nutritious local foods have potential to contribute to reducing stunting in this vulnerable population.