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Open AccessArticle

What Influences Urban Mothers’ Decisions on What to Feed Their Children Aged Under Five—The Case of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Department of Women’s and Children Health, International Maternal and Child Heath, Uppsala University, 751 85 Uppsala, Sweden
Addis Continental Institute of Public Health, 26751/1000 Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Department of Human Geography, Lund University, 223 62 Lund, Sweden
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London WC1E 7HT, UK
Department of Biosystems and Technology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, 230 53 Alnarp, Sweden
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2018, 10(9), 1142;
Received: 28 July 2018 / Revised: 16 August 2018 / Accepted: 20 August 2018 / Published: 22 August 2018
Mothers carry the prime responsibility for childcare and feeding in low-income countries. Understanding their experiences in providing food for their children is paramount to informing efforts to improve the nutritional status of children. Such information is lacking in Sub-Saharan Africa. To understand what influences urban mothers’ food acquisition and their motivations for selecting food for their children, 36 in-depth interviews were carried out with mothers having children under five years of age. Interviews were conducted in the local language, audio-recorded, transcribed, and translated into English. Data were analyzed using thematic analysis which led to the identification of four major themes: mothers give-in to a child-driven diet; quick-fix versus the privilege of planning; keen awareness on food safety, nutrition, and diet diversity; and social, familial, and cultural influences. The findings indicate that child feeding practices are influenced by interlinked social and environmental factors. Hence, nutrition education campaigns should focus on targeting not only families but also their children. Attention should also be given to food safety regulations, as well as to the much-needed support of mothers who are struggling to ensure their children’s survival in low-income countries. View Full-Text
Keywords: urban mothers; child feeding/nutrition; qualitative methods; Ethiopia urban mothers; child feeding/nutrition; qualitative methods; Ethiopia
MDPI and ACS Style

Berhane, H.Y.; Ekström, E.-C.; Jirström, M.; Berhane, Y.; Turner, C.; Alsanius, B.W.; Trenholm, J. What Influences Urban Mothers’ Decisions on What to Feed Their Children Aged Under Five—The Case of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Nutrients 2018, 10, 1142.

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