1Salute Donna e Infanzia, Dipartimento di Cure Primarie2Servizio Igiene Alimenti e Nutrizione, Dipartimento di Sanità Pubblica; 3Staff Ricerca e Innovazione, Direzione Generale 4Servizio di Epidemiologia, Dipartimento di Sanità Pubblica Azienda USL di Reggio Emilia
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Key words: Complementary food, Immigrant populations, Breastfeeding
Objectives - The linguistic groups most represented in the province of Reggio Emilia are North African, Chinese and Indian. In 2008, the Authors started a survey to examine eating habits during the first year of life among the three groups, in order to customise our nutritional information even further.
Materials and methods - The interviews with the parents were conducted at an outpatient clinic during the vaccination sessions at 10 and 14 months. Three young interviewers belonging to the three linguistic groups were trained to submit a semi-structured questionnaire. A total of 218 mothers were interviewed: 50 Chinese, 45 North African, 45 Indian and 78 Italian as control group.
Results - The period of introduction of complementary food in the different groups was examined by assessing the level of compliance with the indications of the paediatrician and identifying any “traditional” food managed independently by the family. The rate of breastfeeding was also obtained and the ratio with complementary food. The diet which proved to be most similar to the Italian one was the North African; the Indian parents interviewed proved to be highly sensitive to the indications of the paediatrician, although they apply a very careful balance with their own traditional food; the Chinese group proved to pay little attention to the indications of the paediatrician, with early introduction of complementary food and a particularly short period of breastfeeding.
Conclusions - In sum, family paediatricians, in providing indications on complementary feeding to parents, should have a transcultural approach, consistent with both the nutritional recommendations and the principles and values of the family concerned.
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