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Seasonal food consumption patterns and dietary diversity of rural preschool Ghanaian and Malawian children

Ferguson, E.L., Gibson, R.S., Opare-Obisaw, C., Osei-Opare, F., Lamba, C., Ounpuu, S.
Ecology of food and nutrition 1993 v.29 no.3 pp. 219-234
food intake, rural areas, cultural differences, preschool children, seasonal variation, Ghana, Malawi
Food intakes of rural Malawian (29F, 36M; 62 +/- 10 mo) and Ghanaian (83F, 65M; 59 +/- 10 mo) children were estimated at two seasons using 3-day weighed records. Food patterns, dietary diversity, based on the number, and frequency of foods consumed, and major sources of energy and selected nutrients were examined. The total, and average number of food items consumed per day were lower in Malawi (62, 6.4 +/- 1.4 per day) than in Ghana (70 - 76, 7.5 +/- 1.3 - 8.0 +/- 1.2 per day). More Malawian than Ghanaian children (25 and 46% versus 12 and 27%, depending on season) consumed 6 food items or less per day. Major energy sources were cereals (51-69%) in Malawi, and cereals (24-41%), and roots (24-37%) in Ghana; animal products contributed 3-7% of the energy. Dietary diversity was associated with intakes of energy (per kg BW) (r = 0.33-0.41; p < 0.02) in Malawi, the consumption of prestigious foods and snacks in both countries, and with purchased meals in Ghana. Hence, increased consumption of nutrient dense purchased meals and snacks could increase the diversity and energy content of some rural African diets.