Determinants and drivers of young children's diets in Latin America and the Caribbean: Findings from a regional analysis

Franziska Gassmann, Richard de Groot*, Stephan Dietrich, Eszter Timár, Florencia Jaccoud, Lorena Giuberti Coutinho, Giulio Bordon, Yvette Fautsch-Macias, Paula Veliz, Aashima Garg, Maaike Aarts

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The Latin America and Caribbean region exhibit some of the lowest undernutrition rates globally. Yet, disparities exist between and within countries and countries in the region increasingly face other pressing nutritional concerns, including overweight, micronutrient deficiencies and inadequate child feeding practices. This paper reports findings from a regional analysis to identify the determinants and drivers of children’s diets, with a focus on the complementary feeding window between the age of 6–23 months. The analysis consists of a narrative review and descriptive data analysis, complemented with qualitative interviews with key informants in four countries: Guatemala, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay. Findings indicate that poverty and inequality (disparities within countries by wealth and residence), unequal access to services, inadequate coverage of social programmes and lack of awareness on appropriate feeding practices are important drivers for inadequate diets. We conclude that countries in the region need to invest in policies to tackle overweight and micronutrient deficiencies in young children, considering inequalities between and within countries, enhance coverage of social protection programmes, improve coordination between sectors to improve children’s diets and expand the coverage and intensity of awareness campaigns on feeding practices, using iterative programme designs.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0000260
JournalPLOS Global Public Health
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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