African Journal of
Food Science

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Food Sci.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0794
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJFS
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 837


Persistent child malnutrition in Tanzania: Risks associated with traditional complementary foods (A review)

Happiness S. Muhimbula1* and Abdulsudi Issa-Zacharia1,2
  1Department of Food Science and Technology, Sokoine University of Agriculture, Morogoro, Tanzania. 2Laboratory of Food Biosystems and Environment, United Graduate School of Agriculture, Kagoshima University, 1-21-24 Korimoto, Kagoshima 890-0065, Japan.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 27 September 2010
  •  Published: 30 November 2010



Despite numerous nutritional interventions that have taken place in Tanzania, the Country still experiences a high rate of child malnutrition. Millions of children suffer from one or more forms of malnutrition resulting in stunting, underweight, wasting and anemia. The growth of children often declines with the introduction of complementary foods around the age of 6 months and continues to decline up to 24 months that have greater implications for health during adult-hood. Poor breastfeeding and child feeding practices augmented by very early introduction of nutritionally inadequate and contaminated complementary foods are major factors contributing to persistent child malnutrition in Tanzania. These complementary foods comprise mainly cereal-based porridges with little or no vegetables and often lacking animal proteins. The promotion of exclusive breastfeeding during the first 6 months and appropriate feeding practices has been the integral parts of the intervention processes taking place in Tanzania. Food safety education is a critical prerequisite in the child health programs and is a cost effective intervention with long term positive impacts. This paper reviews the persistent child malnutrition in Tanzania and the causative factors to highlight risks associated with use of complimentary.


Key words: Child malnutrition, complementary foods, feeding practices, microbial contamination and energy density.