Journal of
Public Health and Epidemiology

  • Abbreviation: J. Public Health Epidemiol.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2316
  • DOI: 10.5897/JPHE
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 639

Full Length Research Paper

Reproducibility regarding the age of introduction of complementary foods to infants as self-reported by urban and rural low-income mothers in Guatemala

María José Soto-Méndez, Raquel Campos, Liza Hernández, Marieke Vossenaar* and Noel W. Solomons
Center for Studies of Sensory Impairment, Aging and Metabolism (CeSSIAM), Guatemala City, Guatemala.
Email: [email protected] or [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 07 July 2011
  •  Published: 30 September 2011


The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life with the introduction of adequate complementary foods thereafter. The association between the early introduction of complementary foods and negative health outcomes may be underestimated by inconsistencies in reported age-of-introduction of complementary foods. We aimed to determine the reproducibility of reported age-of-introduction of 10 selected complementary foods. Mothers of 6-12 mo old Guatemalan infants (50 rural, 64 urban) were interviewed on 3 occasions within an interval of 2-14 wks, and asked the age of their infant on introduction of 10 commonly consumed foods(Incaparina®, oatmeal, rice, fruits, vegetables, white rolls, sweet rolls, baby food in jars,potatoes and coffee). A score of 3 (full repetition), 2 (2 of 3 consistent) or 0 (3 distinct answers) was given for each food, and summed across all foods for a “maternal score”, with 30 as maximal. Baby food, sweet rolls and coffee were the most reproducibly-reported foods for both settings, whilst vegetables and fruits were the least consistently reported items. The median maternal score was 20.0 in the urban sample, and higher at 23.0 in the rural sample (p=0.020). We conclude that the moderately high degree of consistency in the responses adds confidence to the proposition that published data on age of complementary foods introduction could generally be valid.


Key words: Reproducibility, complementary foods, self-reported, infant nutrition, Guatemala.