M. Munirul Islam, Tahmeed Ahmed, Janet M. Peerson, M. Abid Hossain Mollah, Makhduma Khatun, Kathryn G. Dewey, Kenneth H. Brown
Background: Appropriate feeding of infants and young children is necessary to prevent growth faltering and optimize health during the first two years of life. There is little information on the effects of dietary energy density and feeding frequency of complementary foods on food consumption during individual meals and the amount of caregiver time expended in child feeding. Methods: During nine separate, randomly ordered dietary periods lasting 3-6 days each, we measured selfdetermined intakes of semi-solid cereal porridges by 18 healthy, breastfed children 8-11 months of age. The infants were fed coded porridges with energy densities of 0.5, 1.0 or 1.5 kcal/g, during three, four, or five meals/day. Complementary food intake was measured by weighing the feeding bowl before and after every meal. Results: Children consumed greater amounts of complementary foods per meal when they received diets with lower energy density and fewer meals per day. Greater time was expended per meal when fewer meals were offered. The time expended per meal did not vary with dietary energy density, but the children ate more and faster for the lower energy density diets. Conclusions: We conclude that the energy density and feeding frequency of complementary foods affect meal-specific food intake. Meal frequency also influences the duration of individual meals, but energy density does not. These results provide further evidence of young children’s ability to regulate their energy intakes, even during infancy, and convey information on factors that affect the amount of time that caregivers must devote to child feeding.