Edward Frongillo:

Document Type


Subject Area(s)

Adult; Bangladesh; Breast Feeding; Child Health Services; Child Nutritional Physiological Phenomena; Child, Preschool; Diet (classification); Female; Humans; Infant; Infant, Newborn; Malnutrition (prevention & control); Maternal Health Services; Maternal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena; Micronutrients (administration & dosage); Nutritional Status; Pregnancy


Maternal undernutrition is a major concern globally, contributing to poor birth outcomes. Limited evidence exists on delivering multiple interventions for maternal nutrition simultaneously. Alive & Thrive addressed this gap by integrating nutrition-focused interpersonal counseling, community mobilization, distribution of free micronutrient supplements, and weight-gain monitoring through an existing Maternal, Neonatal, and Child Health (MNCH) program in Bangladesh. We evaluated the effect of providing nutrition-focused MNCH compared with standard MNCH (antenatal care with standard nutrition counseling) on coverage of nutrition interventions, maternal dietary diversity, micronutrient supplement intake, and early breastfeeding practices. We used a cluster-randomized design with cross-sectional surveys at baseline (2015) and endline (2016) ( ∼ 300 and 1000 pregnant or recently delivered women, respectively, per survey round). We derived difference-in-difference effect estimates, adjusted for geographic clustering and infant age and sex. Coverage of interpersonal counseling was high; >90% of women in the nutrition-focused MNCH group were visited at home by health workers for maternal nutrition and breastfeeding counseling. The coverage of community mobilization activities was ∼50%. Improvements were significantly greater in the nutrition-focused MNCH group than in the standard MNCH group for consumption of iron and folic acid [effect: 9.8 percentage points (pp); 46 tablets] and calcium supplements (effect: 12.8 pp; 50 tablets). Significant impacts were observed for the number of food groups consumed (effect: 1.6 food groups), percentage of women who consumed ≥5 food groups/d (effect: 30.0 pp), and daily intakes of several micronutrients. A significant impact was also observed for exclusive breastfeeding (EBF; effect: 31 pp) but not for early initiation of breastfeeding. Addressing nutrition during pregnancy by delivering interpersonal counseling and community mobilization, providing free supplements, and ensuring weight-gain monitoring through an existing MNCH program improved maternal dietary diversity, micronutrient supplement consumption, and EBF practices. This trial was registered at as NCT02745249.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


© 2022 American Society for Nutrition

This is an open access article distributed under the CC-BY license (

APA Citation

Nguyen, P., Kim, S., Sanghvi, T., Mahmud, Z., Tran, L., & Shabnam, S. et al. (2017). Integrating Nutrition Interventions into an Existing Maternal, Neonatal, and Child Health Program Increased Maternal Dietary Diversity, Micronutrient Intake, and Exclusive Breastfeeding Practices in Bangladesh: Results of a Cluster-Randomized Program Evaluation. The Journal Of Nutrition, 147(12), 2326-2337.