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Indian Pediatr. 2005 May;42(5):425-32.

Community-based nutrition education for improving infant growth in rural Karnataka.

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  • 1Belaku Trust, 697 15th Cross Road, J.P. Nagar Phase II, Bangalore 560 078, Karnataka, India.



To evaluate a nutrition education intervention designed to improve infant growth and feeding practices.


An intervention study using monthly nutrition education delivered by locally trained counsellors targeted at caregivers of infants aged 5-11 months. Comparison of outcomes for 2 groups--one non-intervention group of infants enrolled in 1997 that did not receive the intervention in the first year of life, and an intervention group of infants enrolled 1998-1999 that received the nutrition education.


11 randomly selected and 2 purposively selected villages of south Karnataka.


138 Infants (n = 69 intervention) aged 5-11 months.


Families were administered a monthly questionnaire on feeding and child care behavior, and study infants were weighed at this time, using the SECA solar scales, developed for UNICEF. Logistic regression was used to examine differences between intervention and non-intervention infants in infant feeding behavior outcomes.


Statistically significant improvement was found in weight velocity for female infants in the intervention group. These infants were also more likely to exhibit at least four positive feeding behaviors--intervention infants had a higher mean daily feeding frequency (more likely to be fed solids at least four times a day (OR = 4.35, 95% CI = 1.96, 10.00), higher dietary diversity (more likely to receive a more diverse diet OR = 3.23, 95% CI = 1.28, 7.69), and were more likely to be fed foods suggested by the counsellors such as bananas (OR = 10.00, 95% = 2.78, 33.3) compared to non-intervention infants.


Nutrition education and counselling was significantly associated with increased weight velocity among girls and improved feeding behavior among both boys and girls. These results provide further evidence that community-based nutrition programs that emphasise appropriate feeding and care behavior can be used to prevent and address early childhood malnutrition in poor households.

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