Rapid qualitative assessment to design a food basket for young Tarahumara children in Mexico
AbstractBackground: Infant mortality among the Tarahumaras of Mexico is high and often linked to malnutrition, such as wasting, found in 10.3% of children aged 6–23 months. This has prompted the government to offer a food-aid basket. However, this aid may often not reach the child, as the foods offered are not tailored to the Tarahumaras’ cultural beliefs on young child feeding. Objective: This study was undertaken to determine whether a different group of foods might increase the cultural acceptance of the food basket. Design: Data were collected from 100 mothers of children aged 6–36 months from 51 communities using a combination of qualitative data collection methods, including free listing of foods from key informants, paired comparisons of food preferences, choices of foods to be added/deleted from the government basket, structured interviews about mothers’ concepts related to young child feeding practices, and focus group discussions to validate findings fro m the previous methods. Results: Canned sardines, cookies, lard and chocolate powder were removed from the government basket, and were replaced by beans, broad beans, green peas, milk and potatoes. Noodles, maize, sugar and salt remained from the original basket. Conclusions: Rapid qualitative techniques proved useful in redesigning a food basket targeted towards young Tarahumara children that mothers in focus groups agreed was culturally acceptable.
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