Poster: Caregivers’ perceptions of snacks and factors influencing their use for young child feeding in urban Nepal

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This research poster was presented by Atul Upadhyay at the International Union of Nutrition Scientists 21st International Congress of Nutrition held in Buenos Aires, Argentina from 15-20 October 2017.

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Caregiver perceptions about snack foods for young children and factors influencing their choice for child feeding in Nepal

Nisha Sharma, Alissa pries, Atul Upadhyay, Anushka Thapa, Sonia Thebe, Suzanne Filteau, Elaine Ferguson

Background and objectives: A child’s nutritional needs are very high during complementary feeding period to support rapid growth and development (Shrimpton et al., 2001). Ensuring a nutritious diet during this period is vital for preventing childhood malnutrition (World Health Organization, 2008). As the diet of the young children is dependent on caregiver’s choice of foods and beverages (Ventura & Birch, 2008), this study was conducted to elicit caregivers’ perceptions of the foods and beverages given to children 12-23 months of age as snacks and factors influencing their choice for child feeding in Nepal context.

Methods: Seven facilitated discussions and participatory exercises were conducted in purposively sampled areas of Kathmandu Valley with 32 caregivers of children 12-23 months of age; the study focused caregivers were mothers and grandmothers. During each focus group, facilitator guided the discussions and series of participatory exercises. The exercises included: 1) free-listing of foods and beverages consumed by children as snacks, 2) grouping of them into similar groups/category, and 3) ranking them according to caregivers’ perception of healthiness, convenient, cost and child preference.

Results: Perception of health and nutrition benefits of the foods and beverages mostly influenced choices of caregivers. They perceived commercial snack foods as ‘junk foods’ and not healthy for children. However, these foods were considered the most convenient because of child preference. Financial situation influenced the purchase of certain foods and beverages for caregivers of lower socio-economic status. Food choices also depended on the age of the children; foods considered ‘hard’, such as meat was commonly reported for older children and not for the younger ones.

Conclusions: Along with perceived health and nutrition benefits of foods and beverages, child preferences did matter for caregivers to opt for certain foods and beverages. Economic status dictated the diet of young children. These findings suggest future research to design and develop nutrition intervention programs for young children to support caregivers with recipes or foods which are nutrient-rich, inexpensive and convenient.

Keywords: Child feeding, health, nutrition, perception

Conflict of interest Disclosure: The author (s) declare that they have no conflict of interest.


Shrimpton, R., Victora, C. G., Onis, M. De, Lima, C. & Blo, M. Worldwide Timing of Growth Faltering: Revisiting Implications for Interventions. 107, 1–7 (2001).

Ventura, A. K., & Birch, L. L. (2008). Does parenting affect children’s eating and weight status? International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 5(1), 15.

World Health Organization. Indicators for assessing infant and young child feeding practices : conclusions of a consensus meeting held 6–8 November 2007 in Washington D.C., USA. (2008).