Postprint version. Published in World Development, Volume 27, Issue 8, August 1, 1999, pages 1309-1337.
Copyright © 1999 Elsevier Science Ltd.
The definitive version is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0305-750X(99)00059-5.
Care is the provision in the household and the community of time, attention, and support to meet the physical, mental, and social needs of the growing child and other household members. The significance of care has best been articulated in the framework developed by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). This paper extends the UNICEF model of care and summarizes the literature on the relationship of care practices and resources to child nutrition. The paper also summarizes attempts to measure the various dimensions of care. The concept of care is extended in two directions: first, we define resources needed by the caregiver for care and, second, we show that the child's own characteristics play a role in the kind of care that he or she receives. The literature summary and methodological recommendations are made for six types of resources for care and for two of the least studied care practices: complementary feeding and psychosocial care. The other care practices are care for women, breast-feeding, food preparation, hygiene, and home health practices. Feeding practices that affect a child's nutritional status include adaptation of feeding to the child's abilities (offering finger foods, for example); responsiveness of the caregiver to the child (perhaps offering additional or different foods); and selection of an appropriate feeding context. Psychosocial care is the provision of affection and attention to the child and responsiveness to the child's cues. It includes physical, visual, and verbal interactions.