Background: Undernutrition in under-five children remains a worldwide health issue and is considered one of the leading causes of increased morbidity and mortality. This study aims to assess the impact of home-based nutritional intervention on the nutritional status of preschool children living in rural areas of South India. Methods: A single-blinded cluster randomized controlled trial evaluated the impact of the intervention, with weight gain as the primary outcome. A cluster of 12 villages was randomized to intervention or control arms. A total of 253 underweight preschool children from 12 clusters (villages) were randomized to intervention (n = 127) and control arm (n = 126). The intervention was composed of a health-teaching program and a demonstration of nutritious food preparation in addition to the regular services provided at the Anganwadi centers. The control arm received only standard routine care provided in the Anganwadi centre. The anthropometric assessment was carried out at the baseline and every month for a year. Result: A significant increase in the mean weight kilograms was noted in the intervention group (11.9 ± 0.98 to 13.78 ± 0.89) compared to the control group (11.8 ± 1.03 to 12.96 ± 0.88). In the intervention group, at the baseline, 41.5% were moderately malnourished (> − 2SD—3SD), which decreased to 24% at the end of the year. Similarly, severe malnutrition decreased from 8.69 to 3.16%, while 20.5% of malnourished children achieved normal nutritional status. In the control group, undernourished children demonstrated minimal changes in nutritional status. Analysis of repeated measures of ANOVA results between the intervention and control groups on weight measurements (F (1, 251) = 15.42, p.001) and height measurements (F (2, 1258) = 1.540, p.001) revealed statistical significance. Conclusion: The nutritional status of preschool children is found to be improved by home-based intervention, which includes training mothers or caregivers in planning and preparing healthy nutritious diets, providing timely care, and gaining an understanding and knowledge of the nutritional status along with regular home-based diet preparation. Trial registration: ctri@gov.in CTRI/2017/03/008273 [Registered on: 31/03/2017].

Original languageEnglish
Article number51
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 12-2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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