In Nepal, approximately 20% of women are underweight and diets lack diversity and micronutrient quality. A large-scale USAID-funded program, Suaahara, aims to improve women’s nutritional status through material support of and promotion of growing and consuming nutritious foods via homestead food production (HFP).This study aims to examine the association between participation in HFP activities and dietary diversity among women in the 1000-day period (conception to a child’s second birthday).
Household surveys were carried out in intervention areas with Suaahara beneficiary women (n=2,929 total). Data collected included a 24-hour dietary recall and her participation in six program activities – received vegetable seeds; received chicks; received technical support; improved vegetable gardens; member of HFP groups; and training. Binary variables were created for each participation indicator and a scale (0-6) summing participation in these activities was generated. For dietary diversity, the new 10 food group FAO Women’s Dietary Diversity Score (W-DDS) was used. Multivariate linear regression analyses were used to assess the association between the degree of HFP participation and maternal dietary diversity (continuous), controlling for individual, household, and community level confounders.
Participation in HFP activities was positively and significantly associated with maternal dietary diversity (Ã=0.07, P=0.002), controlling for mothers’ age and education, household caste, family size, distance to market, foreign employment and income, agro-ecological zone and seasonality.
Participation in HFP intervention activities may be an avenue through which improvements in maternal dietary diversity may be achieved, a major indicator for nutritional well being, in Nepal.