Why are animal source foods rarely consumed by 6-23 months old children in rural communities of Northern Ethiopia? A qualitative study

Autoři: Mekonnen Haileselassie aff001;  Getachew Redae aff001;  Gebretsadik Berhe aff001;  Carol J. Henry aff003;  Michael T. Nickerson aff004;  Bob Tyler aff004;  Afework Mulugeta aff001
Působiště autorů: School of Public Health, College of Health Sciences, Mekelle University, Mekelle, Ethiopia aff001;  Tigray National Regional State, Bureau of Science and Technology, Mekelle, Tigray, Ethiopia aff002;  College of Pharmacy and Nutrition, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada aff003;  Department of Food and Bioproduct Sciences, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada aff004
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 15(1)
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0225707



Animal source foods provide high-quality protein and essential micronutrients within the human diet and are of particular significance for the health and development of children. Despite the availability of domestic livestock in rural households of Ethiopia, the diets of children are often monotonous and mainly cereal-based with low energy and nutrient density.


Explore barriers and facilitators for the consumption of animal source foods among 6–23 months old children from the rural communities of Northern Ethiopia.


A community-based exploratory qualitative study design was conducted in July through September 2018. A total of eight focus group discussions (56 individuals) and twenty-four qualitative interviews were conducted with mothers who are lactating, fathers, health extension workers, nutrition, and agriculture experts. Purposive sampling technique was used to include study participants based on their potential relevance in delivering a wealth of information. Thematic analysis strategies, a method for identifying, analyzing, and reporting themes within data, were used to code and grouped into related families and synthesize the qualitative data.


Consumption of animal source foods among 6–23 months old children was very low and the home-reared livestock and their products were mainly used for market purposes. Animal products are consumed during special societal occasions since they are considered as luxury food rather than an essential part of daily children’s diet. Lack of nutrition knowledge, high cost of animal source foods, mothers’ workload to herd livestock, low household income, low milk production, the poor linkage between health and agriculture sectors, and social norms and beliefs were identified as common barriers. While the presence of nutrition experts, cooking demonstrations, in-kind credit programs, livestock ownership, and government-led stunting reduction programs were the facilitators for the consumption of animal source foods in the study communities.


Reduced consumption of animal source foods inadvertently impacted dietary diversity of 6–23 months old children from the study communities. Thus, strengthening social and behavior change communication to promote the consumption of animal source foods, creating opportunities for women to own small livestock for household consumption and provide nutrition education on dietary restriction of animal source foods during religious periods among 6–23 months old children in the rural communities of Northern Ethiopia are recommended.

Klíčová slova:

Agriculture – Food consumption – Children – Livestock – Meat – Milk – Mothers – Nutrition


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