Evidence suggests that simply increasing knowledge and awareness of good nutrition practices rarely leads to sustained behavior change, nor is sustained change in nutrition behavior likely to be achieved through a single activity. Several specific behaviors or practices impact nutritional status during the critical first 1,000 days (pregnancy to age two), while complex, contextual determinants also influence individual decisions to consider, test, adopt and sustain a given behavior or practice. The field of Social and Behavior Change Communication (SBCC) is a collection of approaches and tools informed by behavioral theories and used to design public health interventions.
This review, part of a broader effort by SPRING to support governments and other stakeholders in their delivery of high impact nutrition practices, provides a summary of peer-reviewed evidence regarding the effectiveness of SBCC approaches to increase the uptake of three key nutrition behaviors: women’s dietary practices during pregnancy and lactation, breastfeeding practices, and complementary feeding practices. SBCC interventions have been broadly categorized into three areas: interpersonal communication; use of media; and community/social mobilization. This review also identifies gaps in the evidence and recommendations for further areas of study.
This review includes a total of 91 studies identified using the Ovid MEDLINE database. Recognizing the potential value of a broad array of study designs, results from five study types are included: reviews (including meta-analysis), randomized controlled trials, longitudinal studies, repeated cross-sectional studies, and cross-sectional studies. Excluded studies include those with data from high income countries, those published prior to 2000, those written in a language other than English, and those that focused exclusively on refinement of a research methodology. Other exclusions are noted in the text.