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Complementary food blends and malnutrition among infants in Ghana: A review and a proposed solution

Widespread malnutrition among Ghanaian infants could be attributed to unfortified plant-based complementary foods commonly used at the household level. This review summarizes the publications on the development of complementary food blends and intervention trials aimed at improving the nutritional status of Ghanaian infants. The complementary food blends are cereal-based which are developed from maize (in higher proportion) together with soyabean, cowpea and/or groundnut-an effort to improve protein and energy levels. The cereal-legume blends affect growth more positively than cereal-only formulations but not micronutrient status unless fortified with micronutrients. The low level of micronutrients (including vitamin A) and the high phytate content of cereal-legume blends partly account for micronutrient deficiencies. Phytate limits the bioavailability of nutrients such as iron, calcium and zinc. We propose an alternative complementary food blend which is based on sweet potato. This proposed formulation would be relatively high in endogenous β-carotene (vitamin A precursor) and low in phytate compared to household-level cereal-based complementary foods.

Key Document Information

Authors: Janet L. Weber, Louise Brough, Allan Hardacre, Anthony N. Mutukumira, Jane Coad, Francis Kweku Amagloh

Publication Date: 2012

Identifier: DOI: 10.5897/SRE11.1362

Publisher: Scientific Research and Essays

Contributors: Francis Kweku Amagloh

Format: pdf

Language: English

Keywords: Cereal-legume, Complementary food, Ghana, malnutrition, phytate, Sweet potato


Amagloh, F.K., Weber, J.L., Brough, L., Hardacre, A., Mutukumira, A.N. and Coad, J. 2012. Complementary food blends and malnutrition among infants in Ghana: a review and a proposed solution. Scientific Research and Essays, 7(9), pp. 972-988.

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