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To evaluate the impact of a peer facilitator (PF) approach for improving mothers’ knowledge and practices relating to maternal and child nutrition.
A quasi-experimental design nested within a large-scale integrated nutrition programme, Suaahara, in Nepal. Suaahara interventions were implemented in all study sites, but peer facilitators were used in only half of the study sites.
Rural, disadvantaged villages in three districts of Nepal: Bhojpur, Bajhang and Rupandehi.
Mothers of children aged 6–23·9 months (n 1890).
Differences over time between comparison (C) and intervention (I) groups show that the PF approach had a significant positive impact on several indicators of mothers’ knowledge and practices relating to maternal and child nutrition: (i) knowing that fruits and vegetables are good for children 6–23·9 months (C: −0·7, I: 10·6; P=0·03); (ii) child dietary diversity (C: 0·02, I: 0·04; P=0·02); (iii) child minimum dietary diversity (≥4 of 7 food groups; (C: 6·9, I: 16·0; P=0·02); (iv) maternal dietary diversity (C: 0·1, I: 0·4; P=0·01); and (v) maternal minimum dietary diversity (≥4 food groups; C: 3·6, I: 14·0; P=0·03). Additionally, exposure to a PF three or more times in the past 6 months was positively associated with a small improvement in maternal (β=0·06, P=0·04) and child (β=0·06, P=0·02) dietary diversity scores. Improvements were not observed in maternal health-seeking behaviours such as number of antenatal care visits.
Peer mobilization is a potential approach for improving health- and nutrition-related knowledge and behaviours among women in hard-to-reach communities of Nepal.
To examine associations between grandmothers’ knowledge and infant and young child feeding (IYCF) practices and to test whether the associations are independent of or operate via maternal knowledge.
Cross-sectional household survey data from households with a child under 5 years (n 4080). We used multivariate regression analyses, adjusted for child, maternal, grandmother and household characteristics, and district-level clustering, to test associations between grandmothers’ knowledge and IYCF practices for children aged 6–24 months living with a grandmother. We used causal mediation to formally test the direct effect of grandmothers’ knowledge on IYCF practices v. maternal knowledge mediating these associations.
Two hundred and forty rural communities, sixteen districts of Nepal.
Children aged 6–24 months (n1399), including those living with grandmothers (n 748).
We found that the odds of optimal breast-feeding practices were higher (early breast-feeding initiation: 2·2 times, P=0·002; colostrum feeding: 4·2 times, P<0·001) in households where grandmothers had correct knowledge v. those with incorrect knowledge. The same pattern was found for correct timing of introduction of water (2·6), milk (2·4), semi-solids (3·2), solids (2·9), eggs (2·6) and meat (2·5 times; all P<0·001). For the two pathways we were able to test, mothers’ correct knowledge mediated these associations between grandmothers’ knowledge and IYCF practices: colostrum feeding (b=10·91, P<0·001) and the introduction of complementary foods (b=5·18, P<0·001).
Grandmothers’ correct knowledge translated into mothers’ correct knowledge and, therefore, optimal IYCF practices. Given grandmothers’ influence in childcare, engagement of grandmothers in health and nutrition interventions could improve mothers’ knowledge and facilitate better child feeding.
To examine the association between women’s empowerment in agriculture and nutritional status among children under 2 years of age in rural Nepal.
Cross-sectional survey of 4080 households conducted in 2012. Data collected included: child and maternal anthropometric measurements; child age and sex; maternal age, education, occupation and empowerment in agriculture; and household size, number of children, religion, caste and agro-ecological zone. Associations between the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI)’s Five Domains of Empowerment (5DE) sub-index and its ten component indicators and child length-for-age Z-scores (LAZ) and weight-for-length Z-scores (WLZ) were estimated, using ordinary least-squares regression models, with and without adjustments for key child, maternal and household level covariates.
Two hundred and forty rural communities across sixteen districts of Nepal.
Children under 24 months of age and their mothers (n 1787).
The overall WEAI 5DE was positively associated with LAZ (β=0·20, P=0·04). Three component indicators were also positively associated with LAZ: satisfaction with leisure time (β=0·27, P<0·01), access to and decisions regarding credit (β=0·20, P=0·02) and autonomy in production (β=0·10, P=0·04). No indicator of women’s empowerment in agriculture was associated with WLZ.
Women’s empowerment in agriculture, as measured by the WEAI 5DE and three of its ten component indicators, was significantly associated with LAZ, highlighting the potential role of women’s empowerment in improving child nutrition in Nepal. Additional studies are needed to determine whether interventions to improve women’s empowerment will improve child nutrition.
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