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Commercial Snack Food and Beverage Consumption Prevalence among Children 6–59 Months in West Africa

Consumption of commercial snack food and beverage products among infants, young, and school-aged children may have negative effects on child nutritional outcomes, as these foods are typically dense in energy but not in micronutrients. However, there is limited information available about the consumption of such snacks in low-income settings, particularly in Africa. We contribute to filling this gap using data from 11,537 children aged 6–59.9 months from four West African countries (i.e., Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, and Niger). We estimated the prevalence of commercial snack food and drink consumption and explored variations within the sample by age group, urban or rural residence, household wealth status, and caregiver educational attainment. The results show that 25.7% of children in Niger, 31.5% in Burkina Faso, 42.9% in Mali, and 45.4% in Cote d’Ivoire ate at least one commercial snack food or beverage in the prior 24 h. Consumption prevalence was significantly higher in urban areas than rural areas, among older children (ages 2–5 y) than those in the complementary feeding period (6–23.9 months), and among children in wealthier households. These relationships were confirmed via logistic regression. Our results confirm the widespread consumption of commercial snack foods and drinks by young children in West Africa, a finding with relevance for nutrition policy and programming.