The finding of this study revealed that 12.6% with 95% CI (9.5, 15.7) of children aged 6–23 months were received the recommended minimum acceptable diet. This was higher compared to a study conducted in Northwest Ethiopia, Dembecha (8.6%) . The variation might be due to the different study periods. The above study was conducted in populations where only orthodox religion followers during the fasting season in which feeding habits might be reduced either in food diversity, especially animal source foods, or meal frequency which underestimate the finding when compared to other periods. Also, the above study was conducted in the dry season what we call “winter” in which the nutritional availability of most fruits and vegetables might be low compared to seasons especially “summer” a period in which this study was conducted.
This finding was also higher than the EDHS report of 2016, only 7% of children aged 6–23 months received a minimum acceptable diet . The difference might be due to EDHS were conducted on a culturally different population, which may underrate child feeding practices while this study was conducted on an almost culturally homogenous population with similar feeding practices. The results of this study were higher than studies conducted in Ethiopia multilevel analysis report of EDHS 2016 (6.1%), Malawi (8.36%), Nigeria (7.3%), and Philippines (6.7%) of children aged 6–23 months received the recommended minimum acceptable diet [9, 10, 14,15,16]. The reason for a high percentage of feeding practice in this study area might be due to variation in study design, data collection period, and nutrition education with media and health extension workers might play a major role in increasing community awareness towards appropriate child feeding practice .
On the other hand, the finding of this study was lower than a study done in wolayita Sodo town (Southern Ethiopia) 21.1% of children consumed a minimum acceptable diet . The variation might be because of different study settings and study periods; this study was conducted in the rural communities whereas the above study was conducted in urban communities, as communities from rural areas are less likely to feed a minimum acceptable diet than people residing in the urban area . Also, the difference might be due to higher non-educated mothers were participated in this study, on the contrary, higher numbers of educated participants were included in the above study. The result was also lower than the study conducted in different countries; Ghana, Uganda, and Kenya in which 29.9, 23.9, and 48.5% of children received recommended minimum acceptable diet, respectively [19,20,21]. Lower findings in this study area might be due to differences in study design, sample size, study period, and difference in socio-demographic characteristics. Also, the finding was low compared to the 2020 global nutrition report (18.9%) . The variation might be due to difference in sample size and socio-demographic characteristics.
Mother education was significantly associated with minimum acceptable diet practice. Based on this study, mothers who had formal education were 2.7 times more likely to provide minimum acceptable diets for their children compared to mothers who had no formal education. This finding was supported by a study done in Dembecha . This might show that education enables mothers to know the benefits of the practice of child feeding and plays an important role in meeting minimum acceptable diet standards. However, this finding was not supported by the study done in North Shoa, Oromia region, and multilevel analysis report of EDHS 2016 [9, 23].
Children born in a health facility were 4.5 times more likely to receive a minimum acceptable diet than those born at home. This result was similar to a study done in Northwest Ethiopia . This might be due to health professional counseling on appropriate child feeding after delivery on health facility increases mothers awareness on practice of minimum acceptable diet; Hence mother’s awareness on appropriate child feeding practice who got from health professionals have had a better child feeding practices than their counterparts .
Children whose mothers were exposed to media i.e. watched television, listen to the radio every day or once a week, has 2.6 times more likely to meet the minimum acceptable diet than those children of mothers who watched television and listen to the radio less than once a week or not at all. This finding was similar to other findings in North Shoa, Oromia region, and multi-level analysis report of EDHS 2016 [9, 23]. This might be because the currently Ethiopian ministry of health and its partners promote child feeding practices through radio, television, and family health cards. This might enhance the mother’s awareness of feeding a minimum acceptable diet to their children. Also, this might be because mothers who have been exposed to the media have had better opportunities to access information on appropriate child feeding practices. This could improve the mother’s capacity to challenge unfavorable information towards child feeding practices in the community and increase appropriate child feeding habits. On the other hand, this finding was not supported by the study conducted in Dembecha .
Children born from mothers with a high wealth index were 2.5 times more likely to receive the recommended minimum acceptable diet than children born from mothers with a low wealth index. This result was nearly similar to a study done in the Philippines , in which children born from mothers in the middle wealth index were more likely to meet the minimum acceptable diet compared to those children born from mothers in the poorest wealth index, The possible explanation of this significant association might be due to the limited food purchasing power to provide diversified diet to their children in peoples with lower wealth index, and also mothers in high wealth index were more likely provide nutritious food to their children compared to mothers from low wealth index households who were more focus on the quantity of food . This finding was not supported by other studies conducted in Dembecha, North Shoa, and the multilevel analysis report of EDHS 2016 [9, 10, 23].
This study only measures the diversity and frequency of foods given for children aged 6–23 months, but it is important to include the quantity of foods given for the child. Even if children who were sick were excluded, there might be children who were not known to sick or not sick in the previous one week, but who lost their appetite during data collection time, which could underestimate our finding. This study didn’t consider seasonal variations during the data collection period, which might be affected feeding habits especially food diversity be affected.