Dietary Adequacy of Indian Rural Preschool Children—Influencing Factors

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The dietary adequacy (qualitative and quantitative) of preschool children residing in rural areas near Mysore (a district in south India) was assessed by the ‘Food frequency method’ and ‘24-h recall method’. Food intake assessed in three different seasons revealed that their diets were predominantly cereal based with negligible quantity of protective foods. The overall nutrient intake was found to be inadequate, irrespective of the seasons. The adequacy level of the nutrients (cereal dependence) was found to be comparatively better in monsoon and winter seasons because of better labour opportunities and availability. Food consumption pattern showed no gender differences. The nutrient adequacy also varied by the age of the children. The influence of ‘food expenditure’ on the nutrient adequacy was not statistically significant. Nutritional status was found to be a factor influencing nutrient intake. Apart from age, nutritional status and food availability, feeding practices may also influence the nutrient intake of the preschool children.

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