Skip to main content Accessibility help

Neighbour home gardening predicts dietary diversity among rural Tanzanian women

  • Mia M Blakstad (a1), Alexandra L Bellows (a1), Dominic Mosha (a2), Chelsey R Canavan (a1), Killian Mlalama (a2), Joyce Kinabo (a3), Margaret E Kruk (a1), Honorati Masanja (a2) and Wafaie W Fawzi (a1) (a4) (a5)...



The present study’s aim was to assess the impact of a nutrition-sensitive intervention on dietary diversity and home gardening among non-participants residing within intervention communities.


The study was a cross-sectional risk factor analysis using linear and logistic multivariate models.


In Tanzania, women and children often consume monotonous diets of poor nutritional value primarily because of physical or financial inaccessibility or low awareness of healthy foods.


Participants were women of reproductive age (18–49 years) in rural Tanzania.


Mean dietary diversity was low with women consuming three out of ten possible food groups. Only 23·4 % of respondents achieved the recommended minimum dietary diversity of five or more food groups out of ten per day. Compared with those who did not, respondents who had a neighbour who grew crops in their home garden were 2·71 times more likely to achieve minimum dietary diversity (95 % CI 1·60, 4·59; P=0·0004) and 1·91 times more likely to grow a home garden themselves (95 % CI 1·10, 3·33; P=0·02). Other significant predictors of higher dietary diversity were respondent age, education and wealth, and number of crops grown.


These results suggest that there are substantial positive externalities of home garden interventions beyond those attained by the people who own and grow the vegetables. Cost-effectiveness assessments of nutrition-sensitive agriculture, including home garden interventions, should factor in the effects on the community, and not just on the individual households receiving the intervention.


Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Email


Hide All
1. International Food Policy Research Institute (2016) Global Nutrition Report 2016: From Promise to Impact: Ending Malnutrition by 2030: Summary. Washington, DC: IFPRI.
2. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, International Fund for Agricultural Development, UNICEF al . (2017) The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2017. Building Resilience for Peace and Food Security. Rome: FAO.
3. Green, R, Sutherland, J, Dangour, AD et al. (2016) Global dietary quality, undernutrition and non-communicable disease: a longitudinal modelling study. BMJ Open 6, e009331.
4. Kennedy, GL, Pedro, MR, Seghieri, C et al. (2007) Dietary diversity score is a useful indicator of micronutrient intake in non-breast-feeding Filipino children. J Nutr 137, 472477.
5. Olney, DK, Bliznashka, L, Pedehombga, A et al. (2016) A 2-year integrated agriculture and nutrition program targeted to mothers of young children in Burkina Faso reduces underweight among mothers and increases their empowerment: a cluster-randomized controlled trial. J Nutr 146, 11091117.
6. Cabalda, AB, Rayco-Solon, P, Solon, JAA et al. (2011) Home gardening is associated with Filipino preschool children’s dietary diversity. J Am Diet Assoc 111, 711715.
7. Kimambo, IN, Hyden, G, Maghimbi, S et al. (editors) (2008) Contemporary Perspective on African Moral Economy. Dar es Salaam: Dar es Salaam University Press.
8. Mosha, D, Canavan, CR, Bellows, AL et al. (2018) The impact of integrated nutrition-sensitive interventions on nutrition and health of children and women in rural Tanzania: study protocol for a cluster-randomized controlled trial. BMC Nutr 4, 29.
9. Zack, RM, Irema, K, Kazonda, P et al. (2018) Validity of an FFQ to measure nutrient and food intakes in Tanzania. Public Health Nutr 21, 22112220.
10. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations & USAID’s Food and Nutrition Technical Assistance III Project (2016) Minimum Dietary Diversity for Women: A Guide to Measurement. Rome: FAO.
11. Martin-Prével, Y, Allemand, P, Wiesmann, D et al. (2015) Moving Forward on Choosing a Standard Operational Indicator of Women’s Dietary Diversity. Rome: FAO.
12. Textor, J, van der Zander, Benito et al. (2016) Robust causal inference using directed acyclic graphs: the R package ‘dagitty’. Int J Epidemiol 45, 18871894.
13. Filmer, D & Pritchett, L (2001) Estimating wealth effects without expenditure data – or tears: an application to educational enrollments in States of India. Demography 38, 115132.
14. Kozuki, N, Katz, J, Lee, A et al. (2015) Short maternal stature increases risk of small-for-gestational-age and preterm births in low- and middle-income countries: individual participant data meta-analysis and population attributable fraction. J Nutr 145, 25422550.
15. Arimond, M, Wiesmann, D, Becquey, E et al. (2010) Simple food group diversity indicators predict micronutrient adequacy of women’s diets in 5 diverse, resource-poor settings. J Nutr 140, issue 11, 2059S2069S.
16. National Bureau of Statistics/Tanzania & ICF Macro (2011) Micronutrients: Results of the 2010 Tanzania Demographic and Health Survey. DHS Nutritional Reports no. 5. Calverton, MD: ICF Macro.
17. Agize, A, Jara, D & Dejenu, G (2017) Level of knowledge and practice of mothers on minimum dietary diversity practices and associated factors for 6–23-month-old children in Adea Woreda, Oromia, Ethiopia. BioMed Res Int 2017, 7204562.
18. Amugsi, DA, Lartey, A, Kimani, E et al. (2016) Women’s participation in household decision-making and higher dietary diversity: findings from nationally representative data from Ghana. J Health Popul Nutr 35, 16.
19. Bellon, MR, Ntandou-Bouzitou, GD & Caracciolo, F (2016) On-farm diversity and market participation are positively associated with dietary diversity of rural mothers in southern Benin, West Africa. PLoS One 11, e0162535.
20. Koppmair, S, Kassie, M & Qaim, M (2017) Farm production, market access and dietary diversity in Malawi. Public Health Nutr 20, 325335.
21. Barman, D & Vadrevu, L (2016) How is perceived community cohesion and membership in community groups associated with children’s dietary adequacy in disadvantaged communities? A case of the Indian Sundarbans. BMC Health Serv Res 16, Suppl. 7, 622.
22. Jones, AD, Shrinivas, A & Bezner-Kerr, R (2014) Farm production diversity is associated with greater household dietary diversity in Malawi: findings from nationally representative data. Food Policy 46, 112.
23. Olumakaiye, M (2013) Socioeconomic inequality in dietary diversity score among school children in a region of Southwestern Nigeria. Ann Nutr Metab 63, 597.
24. Omori, K & Greksa, LP (2002) Seasonal variation in the dietary adequacy of highland Pwo and Sgaw Karen (Thailand). Am J Hum Biol 14, 519531.


Neighbour home gardening predicts dietary diversity among rural Tanzanian women

  • Mia M Blakstad (a1), Alexandra L Bellows (a1), Dominic Mosha (a2), Chelsey R Canavan (a1), Killian Mlalama (a2), Joyce Kinabo (a3), Margaret E Kruk (a1), Honorati Masanja (a2) and Wafaie W Fawzi (a1) (a4) (a5)...


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed