Sustained intake of animal-sourced foods is associated with less stunting in young children


The value of animal-sourced foods (ASFs) in providing key nutrients, particularly for child growth and where diets are of low quality, is understood mainly from cross-sectional assessment of current consumption. Longitudinal panel data from Nepal, Bangladesh and Uganda were used here to assess associations among previous (lagged) and contemporaneous ASF intake with linear growth of children aged 6–24 months. Lagged ASF consumption was significantly correlated with a 10% decline in stunting in Nepali children who consumed any ASF in the previous year, while current intake was associated with a 9% decline in stunting in Uganda. Previous consumption of two or more ASFs showed a stronger association, ranging from a 10% decline in stunting in Bangladesh to a 16% decline in Nepal. This novel lagged analysis emphasizes the need for regular and appropriate levels of ASF intake by young children to support healthy growth in resource-constrained settings.

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