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Indian Journal of Community Medicine

Rapid assessment of infant-feeding practices in Agra district

Author(s): Chaturvedi Manish, Nandan Deoki, Gupta SC

Vol. 32, No. 3 (2007-07 - 2007-09)


Year : 2007 | Volume : 32 | Issue : 3 | Page : 227

Rapid assessment of infant-feeding practices in Agra district

Chaturvedi Manish1, Nandan Deoki2, Gupta SC3
1 Department of Community Medicine, Subharti Medical College, Meerut, India
2 NIHFW, New Delhi, India
3 PSM Department, SNMC, Agra, India
Date of Submission 12-Apr-2006
Date of Acceptance 31-May-2007

Correspondence Address:
Chaturvedi Manish
Department of Community Medicine, Subharti Medical College, Meerut

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
How to cite this article:
Chaturvedi M, Nandan D, Gupta SC. Rapid assessment of infant-feeding practices in Agra district. Indian J Community Med 2007;32:227
How to cite this URL:
Chaturvedi M, Nandan D, Gupta SC. Rapid assessment of infant-feeding practices in Agra district. Indian J Community Med [serial online] 2007 [cited 2007 Nov 30];32:227. Available from:


Childhood under-nutrition in our country mostly originates from inadequate and faulty practices of feeding newborns and children, coupled with exposure to contaminated environment. The low prevalence and duration of exclusive and partial breastfeeding increase the risk of infant and childhood morbidity and mortality in both developed and developing countries.[1] According to an analysis, breastfeeding was identified as the single most effective preventive intervention, which could prevent 13-16% of all childhood deaths in India. Adequate complementary feeding between the age of 6 and 24 months could prevent an additional 6% of all such deaths.[2]

A cross-sectional study was done utilizing multistage random stratified cluster-sampling and multi-indicator rapid assessment technique for interviews. Study was conducted in 30 urban and 50 rural clusters of Agra district. All the mothers of children of age less than 1 year were selected for the study. A total of 540 mothers of children of 0 £12 months of age in the selected 80 clusters were interviewed during house-to-house visit for infant feeding practices. The information collected and analyzed through SPSS statistical software.

Practice of exclusive breastfeeding at birth was followed in only less than one-fifth (18.3%) of children born during the last one year in the district. Mostly mothers (81.7%) provided prelactal feeds to their babies, the most common prelactal feed being ghutti. The practice of providing prelactal feeds was common in rural areas (83.1%) as compared to urban (78.9%). The ghutti was found to be more common in urban, while honey and jaggery were common in rural areas.

Out of 541 children, breastfeeding was initiated at the correct time, i.e., within 1 hour of the birth, in only 16 (3%) children. However, in about one-fourth of the newborns, breastfeeding was initiated within 24 hours (28.3%); this percentage was 38.3 in the urban areas as compared to 23.3 in the rural areas.

Most of the mothers (73%) had started giving water to their children since birth. Majority (50.8%) of mothers had not given top feeding before the attainment of age for complementary feeding; this figure was found to be higher in rural areas (52.9%) as compared to urban areas (44.8%).

It was observed that 20% children had received complementary feeds at the right age, that is, at 6 months of age. In the urban area, 23% children had received complementary feeds at the correct age, this percentage being low, i.e., 18.5%, for the rural children. Similar percentage was reported by Panwar et al.[3] as 19.3%, while higher percentage was reported by UNICEF[4], viz., 29.6.

Although breastfeeding is nearly pervasive in India, very few children begin breastfeeding immediately after birth. Countrywide data from NFHS-2 documented that only 19% and 45% of women in urban area started breastfeeding in the first hour and first day of childbirth respectively. Fifty five percent of children below 4 months of age were exclusively breastfed, and only 34% of children aged 6-9 months received the recommended combination of breast milk and solid or mushy food.[5]

In a study from the same area, 0.3% children were initiated into breastfeeding within 1 hour and 40% within 24 hours of birth.[3] UNICEF reported 29.4%; while for rural and urban areas, it was 67% and 72% respectively for initiating breastfeeding in the first 24 hours.[4]

The present scenario can be improved through enhancing IEC activities, distribution and display of locally developed IEC material and training of health staff with emphasis on preventive and promotive health-care practices.


1. Betrαn AP, de Onνs M, Lauer JA, Villar J. Ecological study of effect of breast feeding on infant mortality in Latin America. BMJ 2001;323:303-6.
2. Gupta A, Rohde EJ. Infant and young Child Undernutrition where lie the solutions? Econ Polit Wkly 2004;12:5213-7.
3. Panwar, et al . "Measurement of Progress Towards Mid Decade Goals for Children at District Agra", MD (SPM) Thesis submitted to SN Medical College, Agra; 1997.
4. UNICEF and Department of Women and Child Development, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare; Multi Indicator Cluster Survey; 2000.
5. National Family Health Survey (NFHS-2) India, 1998-99: International Institute for Population Sciences and ORC Macro, Demographic and health Surveys. IIPS: Mumbai; 2002.

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