Behavior Change Interventions Delivered through Interpersonal Communication, Agricultural Activities, Community Mobilization, and Mass Media Increase Complementary Feeding Practices and Reduce Child Stunting in Ethiopia uri icon


  • Background: Appropriate infant and young child feeding practices are critical for optimal child growth and development, but in Ethiopia, complementary feeding (CF) practices are very poor. Alive & Thrive (A&T) provided intensive behavior change interventions through 4 platforms: interpersonal communication (IPC), nutrition-sensitive agricultural activities (AG), community mobilization (CM), and mass media (MM).
  • Conclusions: Delivery of social and behavior change interventions using multiple platforms was feasible and effective, resulting in improvements in CF practices and child stunting within a 2-y period. There is a need for continued efforts, however, to expand intervention coverage and to improve CF practices in Ethiopia.
  • Methods: We used a cluster-randomized evaluation design with cross-sectional surveys among households with children aged 6-23.9mo [n = 2646 at baseline (2015) and n = 2720 at endline (2017)]. We derived difference-in-difference impact estimates (DDEs) and conducted dose-response and path analyses to document plausibility of impacts.
  • Objectives: The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of A&T intensive compared with nonintensive interventions (standard nutrition counseling and agricultural extension service and less intensive CM and MM) on CF practices and knowledge and child anthropometric outcomes.
  • Results: At endline, exposure to IPC was 17.8-32.3%, exposure to AG was 22.7-36.0%, exposure to CM was 18.6-54.3%, and exposure to MM was 35.4% in the intensive group. Minimum dietary diversity and minimum acceptable diet increased significantly in the intensive group but remained low at endline (24.9% and 18.2%, respectively). Significant differential declines in stunting prevalence were observed (DDE: -5.6 percentage points; P < 0.05) in children aged 6-23.9 mo, decreasing from 36.3% to 22.8% in the intensive group. Dose-response analyses showed higher odds of minimum dietary diversity (OR: 3.3; 95% CI: 2.2, 4.8) and minimum meal frequency (OR: 1.9; 95% CI: 1.4, 2.6) and higher height-for-age z score (HAZ) (beta: 0.24; 95% CI: 0.04, 0.4) among women exposed to 3 or 4 platforms. Path analyses showed a strong relation between AG and egg consumption, which led to increased child dietary diversity and HAZ.

publication date

  • 2019
  • 2019