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Nutrition

Guidance and Sample Behavior Profiles

The set of sample Behavior Profiles were drawn from those nutrition-specific behaviors deemed most proximal to reaching the goal of reducing malnutrition in young children, with a focus on stunting and wasting. The importance of these behaviors in reducing malnutrition is substantiated by reviews done by the Lancet, Cochrane Reviews and other meta-analyses.

Each behavior has been written as something the primary actor, in all cases the caregiver or the woman will do. The steps to successfully complete the behavior are generally sequential, however for a few behaviors they are not and represent the totality of actions that must be taken for the behavior to be optimal.

Other points to note about these sample nutrition Behavior Profiles are:

  1. Each sample nutrition Behavior Profile has been developed from a literature review that looked at published research within the past 10 years.  The reviews also included research done in prior years and grey literature particularly when its focus was behavior, offering reasons for practices often not illuminated in quantitative studies or program documents.

  2. Behaviors such as breastfeeding and complementary feeding have been broken into their component behaviors in an attempt to overcome programs focusing on a component of the behavior that may not be the most important. While every context is different and prioritizing the behaviors is a local decision, some of the component behaviors should not be considered stand-alone: that is, feeding during illness and recuperative feeding should be considered together to achieve the desired nutritional outcome.

  3. These sample Behavior Profiles are inclusive of all factors and actors identified in the literature review. The factors and actors were not prioritized in order to prompt thinking and, potentially, inquiries into locally undocumented reasons for sub-optimal behavior practice.  The factors and actors will need to be prioritized at the local level as part of their local adaptation.

  4.  While these sample nutrition Behavior Profiles are limited to nutrition-specific behaviors, some of the actions required to facilitate change are not nutrition-specific. These profiles are meant to stimulate this broader thinking.

Some of the sample nutrition Behavior Profiles include behaviors tied closely to reducing child death and child malnutrition and are also found under other topic areas: attendance at ANC to be considered if prioritizing maternal nutrition; seeking a full course of immunizations; and, seeking appropriate care for diarrhea including zinc for consideration if the priority is nutritional care during illness.

Sample Behavior Profiles

Feeding during and after Illness

mother breastfeeding child

Feeding During Illness


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mother breastfeeding child

Recuperative Feeding


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Care for Acute Malnutrition

Growth Tracking

mother breastfeeding child

Growth Tracking


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