Nutrition

Breastfeeding and good nutrition are two of the protective factors the Gudaga Study is describing over time. At each six monthly visit mothers are asked about their child’s diet – what they are eating and drinking.

We have found that a lot of the children eat fruit and vegetables regularly: over 87% at each data collection point.  The children were eating more unprocessed meat (a rich source of iron) than processed meat. 

We also found that the Gudaga children started eating “junk” food at an early age. At 12 months 45% of children had eaten fast food, sweets and/or savory snacks in the previous 24 hours. By 18 and 24 months, this rate had increased to 78.5% and 81% respectively.

Research suggests that drinking more than 500ml of cow’s milk a day can increase the risk of iron deficiency in infants and young children. At 12 months, we found that four out of five children were drinking more than 500ml of cow’s milk daily. By 24 months, this had dropped to one in two children. 

Close to one third of the children were drinking water as their main drink at two years of age. Many children were also drinking fruit juice. One in four children were mainly drinking fruit juice at this point in time.