Food practices among Trinidadian children

J Am Diet Assoc. 1966 Dec;49(6):497-501.


PIP: The dietary and feeding practices of mothers belonging to 2 major ethnic groups in Trinidad, the Negroes and the East Indians, were studied. 106 mothers were interviewed: 68 Negroes (38 with infants under 1 year of age, and 30 in the 1-5 year age group) and 38 East Indians (19 offspring in each category). Very few infants under 1 year of age were exclusively breastfed for a period varying from 4-12 weeks. The rest were given bottled milk mixed with arrowroot or parched flour during daytime and breast milk at night. It appears that the practice of breastfeeding is gradually declining among Trinidadian mothers. Partial breastfeeding or supplementary milk is the sole source of animal protein for young infants, frequently accompanied by orange juice or parched flour. Sweetened condensed milk is still being used by some mothers because of its relative cheapness, easy availability, and good storing qualities. Supplementary feedings often started in late infancy include gruels made from arrowroot, parched flour, and cereal. Weaning foods consisted primarily of arrowroot, potatoes, lentil soups, pumpkin, carrots, and fruits in season. As the child gets older, milk and milk products, meat, and other high quality protein are consumed very infrequently. A disappointing observation was the low consumption of readily available green and yellow vegatables. The main nutritional disorders seen in infancy are marasmus and anemia, mainly due to protein and iron deficiencies; severe cases of other types of nutritional disorders are rare. Although there is a certain degree of uniformity in the dietary patterns of children and the methods of feeding them during the weaning period, there are also a number of variations depending on locality, race, religion, agricultural methods, and resources of the soil. Arrowroot is the mainstay of the Negro infant's diet, while parched flour or sago is consumed by an East Indian infant more frequently. East Indian mothers also breastfed less frequently than their Negro counterparts.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Black or African American
  • Breast Feeding
  • Child Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Proteins
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Milk
  • Nutrition Surveys*
  • Trinidad and Tobago


  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Proteins