Using trials of improved practices to identify practices to address the double burden of malnutrition among Rwandan children
Williams, P. A., Schnefke, C. H., Flax, V. L., Nyirampeta, S., Stobaugh, H., Routte, J., Musanabaganwa, C., Ndayisaba, G., Sayinzoga, F., & Muth, M. K. (2019). Using trials of improved practices to identify practices to address the double burden of malnutrition among Rwandan children. Public Health Nutrition, 22(17), 3175-3186. Article 1368980019001551. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1368980019001551
OBJECTIVE: Low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) are increasingly experiencing the double burden of malnutrition. Studies to identify 'double-duty' actions that address both undernutrition and overweight in sub-Saharan Africa are needed. We aimed to identify acceptable behaviours to achieve more optimal feeding and physical activity practices among both under- and overweight children in Rwanda, a sub-Saharan LMIC with one of the largest recent increases in child overweight.
DESIGN: We used the Trials of Improved Practices (TIPs) method. During three household visits over 1·5 weeks, we used structured interviews and unstructured observations to collect data on infant and young child feeding practices and caregivers' experiences with testing recommended practices.
SETTING: An urban district and a rural district in Rwanda.
PARTICIPANTS: Caregivers with an under- or overweight child from 6 to 59 months of age (n 136).
RESULTS: We identified twenty-five specific recommended practices that caregivers of both under- and overweight children agreed to try. The most frequently recommended practices were related to dietary diversity, food quantity, and hygiene and food handling. The most commonly cited reason for trying a new practice was its benefits to the child's health and growth. Financial constraints and limited food availability were common barriers. Nearly all caregivers said they were willing to continue the practices and recommend them to others.
CONCLUSIONS: These practices show potential for addressing the double burden as part of a broader intervention. Still, further research is needed to determine whether caregivers can maintain the behaviours and their direct impact on both under- and overweight.