Evidence of potential impacts of a nutrition-sensitive agroecology program in Andhra Pradesh, India, on dietary diversity, nutritional status, and child development: Potential impacts of nutri-gardens

Lakshmi Durga, Yandrapu Bharath, Lilia Bliznashka*, Vijay Kumar, Veerendra Jonnala, Vijayalakshmi Chekka, Srileka Yebushi, Aditi Roy, Nikhil Srinivasapura Venkateshmurthy, Poornima Prabhakaran, Lindsay Jaacks

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

INTRODUCTION: While a number of studies have examined the nutritional impacts of agroecological interventions, few have examined impacts on child development, maternal and child anemia, and men's dietary diversity. Moreover, there have been few such evaluations at scale. We evaluated the impact of a large-scale, multi-component food-based nutrition intervention involving homestead food production, nutrition counselling, cooking demonstrations, and crop planning exercises. METHODS: A cross-sectional assessment was conducted in 2021-2022 of 50 intervention villages where the nutrition-sensitive agroecology program had been implemented since 2018 and 79 control villages where only the agroecology program had been implemented. Data on self-reported dietary intake, caregiver-reported early child development, anthropometric measurements, and hemoglobin concentrations were collected using standardized procedures by trained Nutrition Farming Fellows, who were also responsible for implementing the program. RESULTS: A sample of 3,511 households (1,121 intervention and 2,390 control) participated in the survey. Dietary diversity scores (DDS) among women and men were mean (SD) 6.53 (±1.62) and 6.16 (±1.65), respectively, in intervention villages and 5.81 (±1.58) and 5.39 (±1.61), respectively, in control villages (p<0.01). DDS among children 6-24 months of age in intervention and control villages was 2.99 (±1.52) and 2.73 (±1.62), respectively (p<0.01). Children <2 years of age were less likely to be anemic in intervention versus control villages (59% versus 69%, p<0.01). Children 18-35 months age in intervention villages had higher child development scores than children in control villages (all p<0.05). CONCLUSION: Nutrition-sensitive agroecological programs may be effective in improving diets, nutrition, and child development in rural India.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0286356
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume19
Issue number5
Early online date13 May 2024
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2024

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Nutrition-sensitive agriculture
  • maternal and child health
  • sustainable consumption
  • agroecology
  • home gardens
  • diet quality
  • child development

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