caregiver smiling down at baby living in orphanage

How Feeding & Nutrition Practices Affect Children Living in Care

Up to 9.42 million children live within institution-based care (IBC) worldwide. Poor feeding practices can predispose or exacerbate malnutrition, illness and disability. In Holt’s newest research publication, see how feeding and nutrition practices affect children living within IBC.

Feeding and nutrition practices affect children living in care — orphanages, foster or group homes, or any other nonfamily-based group setting. Vulnerable children living in IBC can be especially at risk for malnutrition. Malnutrition impacts millions of children worldwide who have limited access to nutritious food or the resources and support needed to safely and successfully eat. Nutritional intake is especially important throughout childhood because of critical periods of growth and development, during which unaddressed malnutrition can have long-term consequences to children’s development.

  • Feeding difficulties are common among children living in institution-based care (IBC), particularly but not exclusively among those children with disabilities.
  • Suboptimal feeding practices were common in IBC and encompassed inadequate hygiene, limited support for self-feeding, reading children’s feeding cues (especially around pacing and satiety), addressing feeding difficulties, such as difficulty chewing or swallowing. These should be prioritised in training and supervision for caregivers.
  • Addressing the needs of this vulnerable group should include support for safe feeding techniques. These should be prioritized to help ease the transition into eventual family-based care if we are to move towards deinstitutionalizing children and strengthening families.

Our Nutrition & Health team recently analyzed records from 3335 children, 0–18 years old, participating in Holt International’s Child Nutrition Program (CNP), from 36 sites in six countries to provide more insight into how feeding and nutrition practices affect children in care. View the visual abstract and read the full article below!

graphic abstract for holt research publication feeding practices of children in care

Read the full article here.

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