Infant and Young Child Growth

Authors: Jai Das, Rehana Salam, Aamer Imdad, Zulfiqar Bhutta


This chapter discusses key concepts in (1) nutrition and growth during the infant and early childhood phase of life; (2) intrauterine growth and maternal interventions; (3) nutrition interventions to improve infant and child feeding, including breastfeeding (BF), complementary feeding (CF), and micronutrient supplementation; and (4) challenges in infant and child feeding. Infant and young child nutrition depends on the direct determinants of nutrition and growth, including diet, behavior, and health. It also remains affected by indirect determinants such as food security, education, environment, economic and social conditions, resources, and governance. Hence, combating malnutrition requires a multifaceted approach involving both the interventions directed at the more immediate causes of suboptimum growth and development (nutrition specific) and the large-scale nutrition-sensitive programs that broadly address the underlying determinants of malnutrition. A core set of eight indicators includes measures of dietary diversity, feeding frequency, and consumption of iron-rich or iron-fortified foods, as well as indicators of appropriate BF practices.


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