Submitted to: Food and Nutrition Bulletin
Publication Type: Review article
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/21/2005
Publication Date: 6/1/2005
Citation: Jones, K.M., Specio, S.E., Shrestha, P., Brown, K.H., Allen, L.H. 2005. NUTRITION KNOWLEDGE AND PRACTICES, AND PRODUCTION OF PLANT SOURCES OF VITAMIN A, IN RURAL NEPALI PARTICIPANTS AND NON-PARTICIPANTS IN AN AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT PROJECT. Food and Nutrition Bulletin. Vol. 26, No. 2. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Food-based nutrition interventions, including kitchen gardens (KG) and nutrition education, offer a potentially sustainable approach to reducing multiple nutritional deficiencies, but have been poorly evaluated in developing countries. In a poor region of the Terai in rural Nepal, we developed then evaluated the impact of a nutrition program added to the MARD agricultural project. The primary objective of the MARD was to augment household income through increased production of high-economic value crops. The objective of the nutrition program was to increase vitamin A and iron intake by promoting KG (training, technical assistance and seed distribution) and nutrition education. One third of the KG program participants also attended nutrition education or agricultural training sessions that were part of the MARD project. The project was evaluated after 36 months with a cross-sectional nutrition survey in 430 MARD kitchen garden (KG) households (n=430) and 389 non-MARD Control (n=389) households. There was a remarkable lack of knowledge about nutrition including causes, prevention and treatment of night blindness and anemia. However, compared to Control households the KG group had significantly more nutrition knowledge (38% vs. 13% knew a couse of night blindness and 17% vs. 3% knew a cause of anemia), were more likely to feed special complementary foods to infants and to preserve food, and consumed more of 16 types of home-producted micronutrient-rich vegetables and fruits. Wtihout baseline data it is not possible to attribute causality to the KG program, but the data demonstrate the striking lack of nutrition knowledge in these communities.