Online Program

Validating food-based recommendations to promote dietary quality for pregnant and lactating women and children under two years of age using local foods in the Western Highlands of Guatemala

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Kali Erickson, MPH MS, Food and Nutrition Technical Assistance Project (FANTA), FHI 360, Washington, DC
Maggie Fischer, MPH, FHI 360, Guatemala City, Guatemala
Monica Woldt, MPH, MS, FANTA Project, FHI 360, Washington, DC, DC
Kavita Sethuraman, MS, PhD, FANTA Project, FHI 360, Washington, DC
Background:  Childhood stunting is a pervasive problem in the Western Highlands of Guatemala. Pregnant and lactating women (PLW) and children under two (CU2) are both at risk and in need of an adequate diet to reduce the very high prevalence of childhood stunting. We developed food-based recommendations (FBRs) based on local foods to optimize the diets of PLW and CU2.

Methods: FBRs were developed for PLW and CU2 using Optifood, a linear programming tool. Validation of FBRs involved conducting semi-structured interviews with PLW (n=19), caregivers of children aged 6-11 months (n=11) and 12-23 months (n=15), focus group discussions and key informant interviews in two regions. Foods that were promoted in specific quantities and frequency for PLW included potatoes, a thick fortified drink, vegetables, oranges and liver, and for CU2 included fortified porridge, potatoes, beans, greens, eggs, and meat. 

Results: The FBRs were acceptable but feasibility varied; PLW were able to implement three of the five FBRs; caregivers of CU2 reported that several of the FBRs were not feasible due to constraints such as cost and access to the foods themselves.

Conclusions: Efforts to promote improved dietary quality and practices through social and behavior change communication need to occur in tandem with efforts to strengthen the enabling environment to improve access to nutritious foods.

Learning Areas:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
Describe the dietary challenges for pregnant and lactating women and children under two in Guatemala Describe the methodology used to develop and validate the food-based recommendations Describe the implications for health policy development and nutrition service delivery

Keyword(s): Nutrition, Health Disparities/Inequities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Maternal and Child Health and Nutrition Advisor for the Food and Nutrition Technical Assistance Project III (FANTA), funded by USAID, at FHI360. I have worked internationally for 20 years in Africa, Asia, and Latin America with MCH nutrition and gender issues; I oversaw the process of the Guatemala study to validate food-based recommendations. I have no conflict interest.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.