A Healthy nutrition model for infants
Machira, Hope Njeri
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Accessing information on nutrition for a majority of young mothers in the sub- Saharan region has been marked with numerous challenges. The most common method for gathering nutrition information is by searching for the information on the internet. This process of gathering information does not always result in providing the needed information and mothers also find the information unclear in many occasions. As such, this has resulted in widespread cases of under-nutrition in infants due to poor feeding practices. The current technological platforms for disseminating nutrition education fail to focus on the unique nutritional needs of an infant. This research aimed at understanding the challenges faced by mothers in meeting their infant’s nutritional requirements, to understand the methods and tools used to provide nutrition literacy and establish the data and information requirements for determining the nutritional value of foods for infants. The ability to feed healthy food begins with awareness of the nutritional value in food. A healthy diet is most important during infancy than during any other time of life because it impacts on brain growth, development of the nervous system, entire growth and development of the body and for eradication of diseases such as rickets and anemia caused by lack of essential nutrients. The study proposes the use of a nutrition model for infants for generating healthy meals according to their age. The proposed prototype made use of the guidelines as per the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) which is provided by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and using rules determined the daily meals that would provide the required nutrients an infant’s needs. Agile methodology was used to develop the prototype, it allowed for a quicker release and subsequent user feedback. The prototype can be accessed through internet browser both on mobile phone and on a computer. The model was tested through a simulation of various modules. Of the 10 participants that took part in this exercise, 6 were satisfied that the model fulfilled the intended functions of generating healthy meals for infants. 7 of the respondents also found the model easy to use. The model was therefore successful in offering nutrition expertise for infants.