This study assessed the effectiveness of a Positive Deviance (PD)/Hearth community-based intervention by using local foods and peer-education to improve infant and young child nutrition.
To test the effectiveness of this model, a quasi-experimental non-randomized study was conducted in two Ecuadorian provinces. Mothers in the intervention group met in participatory peer-led PD/Hearth cooking and nutrition education sessions for 12 days. Afterwards, peer leaders (Madre Guias) made home visits to intervention homes every 2 weeks for 4 months.
Growth outcomes and mean dietary intakes were analyzed using multiple linear and logistic regression and ANCOVA respectively. Mothers in the intervention group were 1.3-5.7 times more likely to feed their children the promoted foods. Children in the intervention consumed a higher percentage of recommended intakes for iron, zinc, vitamin A, protein and energy and likelihood of underweight was reduced for children in the intervention.
The PD/Hearth interventions supported mothers to improve infant and young children’s nutrition practices and reduce underweight.