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A Community-Based Positive Deviance/Hearth Infant and Young Child Nutrition Intervention in Ecuador Improved Diet and Reduced Underweight

Publication Details

Authors: Marion L. Roche, PhD; Grace S. Marquis, PhD;
Theresa W. Gyorkos, PhD; Brittany Blouin, MSc; Julieta Sarsoza, MD; Harriet V. Kuhnlein, PhD
Publication date: March 2017
Source: Journal of Nutrition Education and Behaviour, Volume 49, Number 3


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.




Ecuador, Infant and Young Child Nutrition, Latin America, Research Documents