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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.
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