Complementary Feeding And Child-Care Food Choices In Mexican Women Experiencing Differential Access To Alternate-Care And Working Conditions In Mexico

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Maternal capacity to combine work and child-care and caregivers´ food choices are important determinants for child wellbeing. A qualitative study was conducted in Central Mexico to determine work and day-care arrangements supporting and limiting maternal capacity to care for young children, and to identify classification systems, value attributes, and patterns of introduction of home and processed complementary foods driving food choices in Mexican working mothers and alternate caregivers. A random sample of 14 manufacturing businesses with at least 25% of working women was chosen from the census of the Cuernavaca City industrial zone, Mexico (n=157). A purposeful sample of 44 blue-collar working mothers, 20 day-caregivers, 22 grandmothers, and 14 business representatives was selected. In-depth interviews, free-listings, pile sort and food attributes exercises, and participant observation were conducted. Interviews' topics of inquiry included work and daycare policies, family-friendly arrangements, and nutrition education. Data were analyzed by using content analysis, multidimensional scaling, and hierarchical clustering. Thirty-one key complementary foods were selected from a domain of 112 foods given to children less than one year of age in the region. From hierarchical clustering, mothers and alternate caregivers identified nine and ten classes of key foods, respectively. From multidimensional scaling, mothers and caregivers used food groups as a primary classification system. Relevant' dimensions from multidimensional scaling for mothers were food introduction stages and food processing, and for alternate caregivers were healthiness, food processing, and meal relevance. Child health and nutrition, particularly vitamin content, were salient attributes. The notion of early introduction of complementary foods was shared by mothers and alternate caregivers; they reported providing fruits and vegetables to infants. Foods with positive attributes were apple, banana, carrots, squash, chayote, brown bean broth (no solids), pasta, and chicken flesh. Foods with negative attributes were pork, potato chips, and soda, among other processed products. Red meats were described as cold-type, heavy, and hard, not suitable for young children, but right for toddlers. This study will inform mission-based research oriented to promote opportune introduction of complementary foods in young children.

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Complementary feeding; Child-care; Working women


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Union Local


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Frongillo Jr., Edward A

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Tolbert, Pamela S
O'Connor, Kathleen M
Bisogni, Carole Ayres

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Ph. D., Nutrition

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Doctor of Philosophy

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Government Document




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dissertation or thesis

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