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by IFPRI | June 14, 2019

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Measuring coverage of infant and young child feeding counselling interventions: A framework and empirical considerations for survey question design
Choufani, Jowel; Kim, Sunny S.; Nguyen, Phuong Hong; Heidkamp, Rebecca A.; Grummer-Strawn, Laurence M.; Saha, Kuntal K.; Hayashi, Chika; Mehra, Vrinda; Alayon, Silvia; Menon, Purnima. Article in press

Abstract | View

Most countries implement nutrition counselling interventions as part of programmes to support breastfeeding and complementary feeding. However, data to track coverage of counselling interventions are rarely available. As a result, little is known about the coverage of counselling on infant and young child feeding (IYCF). Survey‐based data collection systems generally collect data on IYCF practices but do not collect data on coverage of interventions to support IYCF, and those surveys that do collect this information do not do so consistently. We present a framework to guide the design of survey questions to measure IYCF counselling coverage. We provide examples of how large‐scale surveys for programme evaluation and national monitoring have included survey questions to address these data gaps. Our review suggests that elements relevant to designing survey questions to capture coverage of counselling interventions include timing of contact, target behaviour and message content, place of contact, type of service provider, frequency of contact and mode of intervention. Application of this framework may help strengthen harmonized measurement of IYCF counselling coverage to enable better tracking of programme investments, document progress in scaling up nutrition services and allow for cross‐country comparisons. Thus, improving measurement of counselling coverage may lead to improved reach of programmes to support optimal IYCF practices.
Early breastfeeding practices contribute to exclusive breastfeeding in Bangladesh, Vietnam and Ethiopia
Nguyen, Phuong Hong; Kim, Sunny S.; Tran, Lan Mai; Menon, Purnima; Frongillo, Edward A.. Article in press

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Limited evidence exists on the complex relationship among interventions, early initiation of breastfeeding (EIBF), prelacteal feeding and exclusive breastfeeding (EBF). We examined whether early breastfeeding practices are associated with EBF and how much improving EIBF and non‐prelacteal feeding contributes to increased prevalence of EBF. Survey data were collected in 2010 and 2014 as part of impact evaluations of Alive & Thrive (A&T) interventions to improve infant and young child feeding (IYCF) practices in Bangladesh, Vietnam and Ethiopia. Multivariable logistic regression analyses were used to examine effects of interventions and early breastfeeding practices on EBF. Structural equation modelling quantified the direct and indirect effects of interventions (via improving EIBF and non‐prelacteal feeding) on EBF. Although breastfeeding is nearly universal in all three countries (≥98%), delayed initiation of breastfeeding is prevalent (>60%) and prelacteal feeding is common. EIBF alone was not associated with EBF, whereas non‐prelacteal feeding was associated with 1.6–3.5 higher odds of EBF. Intervention exposure affected breastfeeding practices in all three countries; these impacts were amplified among those who practiced EIBF or non‐prelacteal feeding [odds ratio (OR) = 11 and 27.5 in Bangladesh and 6.5 and 11.5 in Vietnam, respectively]. The paths through EIBF and non‐prelacteal feeding explained 13%–18% of the effect of the interventions on EBF. Early breastfeeding practices influence EBF, but interventions aimed only at the initiation and early days of breastfeeding will be inadequate to promote EBF. Social and behaviour change interventions should simultaneously target EIBF, non‐prelacteal feeding and EBF to support optimal breastfeeding practices.
Validation of 24‐h dietary recall for estimating nutrient intakes and adequacy in adolescents in Burkina Faso
Arsenault, Joanne E.; Moursi, Mourad; Olney, Deanna K.; Becquey, Elodie; Ganaba, Rasmane. Article in press

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Data on dietary nutrient intakes of adolescents in low‐ and middle‐income countries (LMIC) is lacking partly due to the absence of validation studies of the 24‐h recall method in adolescents. We conducted a validation study of 24‐h recall (24HR) compared with observed weighed records (OWR) in adolescents (n = 132, 10–11 years; n = 105, 12–14 years). Dietary data were collected for the same day by both methods by conducting the 24HR the day after the OWR. For OWR, all foods consumed by adolescents from the first to last meal of the day were weighed; for 24HR adolescents reported foods consumed using portion aids. Food intakes were converted to nutrients. Nutrient intakes by both methods were tested for equivalence by comparing the ratios (24HR/OWR) with equivalence margins of within ±10%, 15% and 20% of the ratio. Prevalences of inadequacy (POIs) were obtained using the NCI method. Mean ratios for energy were 0.88 and 0.92, for younger and older adolescents, respectively, and other nutrients ranged between 0.84 and 1.02. Energy intakes were equivalent within the 15% bound, and most nutrients fell within the 20% bound. POI was overestimated by 24HR, but differences were less than 25 percentage points for most nutrients. Half of adolescents omitted foods in recalls, mainly sweet or savoury snacks, fruits and beverages. Our study showed that adolescents underestimated intakes by 24HR; however, the degree of underestimation was generally acceptable for 12–14‐year‐olds within a bound of 15%. Errors could possibly be reduced with further training and targeted probing.
Modeling and simulation of recurrent phenotypic and genomic selections in plant breeding under the presence of epistasis
Ali, Mohsin; Zhang, Luyan; DeLacy, Ian; Arief, Vivi; Dieters, Mark; Pfeiffer, Wolfgang H.; Wang, Jiankang; Li, Huihui. Article in press

Abstract | View

Recurrent selection is an important breeding method for population improvement and selecting elite inbreds or fixed lines from the improved germplasm. Recently, a computer simulation tool called QuMARS has been developed, which allows the simulation and optimization of various recurrent selection strategies. Our major objective in this study was to use the QuMARS tool to compare phenotypic recurrent, marker-assisted recurrent, and genomic selections (abbreviated respectively as PS, MARS and GS) for both short- and long- term breeding procedures. For MARS, two marker selection models were considered, i.e., stepwise (Rstep) and forward regressions (Forward). For GS, three prediction models were considered, i.e., genomic best linear unbiased predictors (GBLUP), ridge regression (Ridge), and regression by Moore-Penrose general inverse (InverseMP). To generate genotypes and phenotypes for a given individual during simulation, one additive and two epistasis genetic models were considered with three levels of heritability. Results demonstrated that selection responses from GBLUP-based GS and MARS (Forward) were consistently greater than those from PS under the additive model, particularly in early selection cycles. In contrast, selection response from PS was consistently superior over MARS and GS under epistatic models. For the two epistasis models, total genetic variance and the additive variance component were increased in some cases after selection. Through simulation, we concluded that GS and PS were effective recurrent selection methods for improved breeding of targeted traits controlled by additive and epistatic quantitative trait loci (QTL). QuMARS provides an opportunity for breeders to compare, optimize and integrate new technology into their conventional breeding programs.
Observability of food safety losses in maize: Evidence from Kenya
Hoffmann, Vivian; Mutiga, Samuel K.; Harvey, Jagger W.; Nelson, Rebecca J.; Milgroom, Michael G.. Article in press

Demand for aflatoxin‐safe maize in Kenya: Dynamic response to price and advertising
Hoffmann, Vivian; Moser, Christine; Herrman, Timothy J.. Article in press

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In countries where regulatory enforcement is weak, voluntary third‐party verification of firms' food safety processes can allow concerned consumers to select safer products. However, due in part to their legal ambiguity, and the potential to attract additional regulatory scrutiny, food safety claims are rarely made by firms. As a result, the impact of such claims on consumer demand is not well understood. We examine how labeling maize as tested for aflatoxin, a carcinogen also associated with stunting in children, affects sales. By randomly varying the timing and intensity of a marketing campaign to promote the first maize flour brand in Kenya labeled as tested for aflatoxin, we characterize dynamic consumer response to information about food safety. We find an immediate response in sales to marketing alone, which disappears as soon as marketing ceases. Sales remain elevated in the weeks after a temporary discount is offered, but this effect also fades over time and is not associated with greater awareness of the firm's food safety claims. These results suggest that it is unrealistic to expect for‐profit firms serving mass markets in low‐ and middle‐income countries to invest heavily in marketing based on food safety claims.
Food safety consciousness and consumers’ milk purchasing behavior: Evidence from a developing country
Thapa, Ganesh; Kumar, Anjani; Roy, Devesh; Joshi, Pramod Kumar. Article in press

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We study the effects of food safety awareness on consumers’ milk purchasing behavior in Nepal. We conducted consumer survey and employed an instrumental variable regression. We find education, income, and social network to influence food safety consciousness (FSC). Our results indicate the positive impact of FSC on weekly milk expenditure and probability of purchasing milk from milk cooperatives. Any policy that helps to improve the FSC levels will likely increase the purchase of safe milk from the modern market outlet, and lack of such awareness raising policies has prevented the market for safe food from evolving and expanding.
Bargaining power, decision making, and biofortification: The role of gender in adoption of orange sweet potato in Uganda
Gilligan, Daniel O.; Kumar, Neha; McNiven, Scott; Meenakshi, J. V.; Quisumbing, Agnes R.. Article in press

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We examine the role of gender dimensions of intrahousehold bargaining power and decision making in the adoption and diffusion of orange sweet potato (OSP), a biofortified crop being promoted to increase dietary intakes of vitamin A in Uganda. We use patterns of ownership and control of land and other assets by married men and women to create gender-disaggregated indicators of bargaining power, allowing for joint and sole ownership and control of land and assets. Using data from an experimental evaluation of a project promoting OSP adoption, we find that the probability of adopting OSP is not affected by the exclusive or joint control of assets by women at the household level. However, within households, parcels of land under joint control, in which the woman has primary control over decision making, are significantly more likely to contain OSP. Women who control a higher share of household nonland resources are more likely to share OPS vines, showing that women use greater bargaining power to facilitate diffusion of this health-promoting technology. We do not find any impact of women’s bargaining power on children’s dietary intakes of Vitamin A, possibly because husbands and wives have the same preferences regarding their children’s nutritional status. These results contribute to reshaping our understanding of household decision making to inform the design and implementation of agriculture-nutrition interventions.
Can children catch up from the consequences of undernourishment? Evidence from child linear growth, developmental epigenetics, and brain and neurocognitive development
Leroy, Jef L.; Frongillo, Edward A.; Dewan, Pragya; Black, Maureen M.; Waterland, Robert A.. Article in press

Abstract | View

Recovery from nutritionally induced height deficits continues to garner attention. The current literature on catch-up growth, however, has 2 important limitations: wide-ranging definitions of catch-up growth are used, and it remains unclear whether children can recover from the broader consequences of undernutrition. We addressed these shortcomings by reviewing the literature on the criteria for catch-up in linear growth and on the potential to recover from undernutrition early in life in 3 domains: linear growth, developmental epigenetics, and child brain and neurocognitive development. Four criteria must be met to demonstrate catch-up growth in height: after a period in which a growth-inhibiting condition (criterion 1) causes a reduction in linear growth velocity (criterion 2), alleviation of the inhibiting condition (criterion 3) leads to higher-than-normal velocity (criterion 4). Accordingly, studies that are observational, do not use absolute height, or have no alleviation of an inhibiting condition cannot be used to establish catch-up growth. Adoption and foster care, which provide dramatic improvements in children's living conditions not typically attained in nutrition interventions, led to some (but incomplete) recovery in linear growth and brain and neurocognitive development. Maternal nutrition around the time of conception was shown to have long-term (potentially permanent) effects on DNA methylation in the offspring. Undernourishment early in life may thus have profound irreversible effects. Scientific, program, and policy efforts should focus on preventing maternal and child undernutrition rather than on correcting its consequences or attempting to prove they can be corrected.
Measuring time use in developing country agriculture: Evidence from Bangladesh and Uganda
Seymour, Gregory; Malapit, Hazel J.; Quisumbing, Agnes R.. Article in press

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This paper discusses the challenges associated with implementing time-use surveys among agricultural households in developing countries and offers advice on best practices for two common measurement methods: stylized questions and time diaries. Using data from Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI) surveys in Bangladesh and Uganda, it finds that stylized questions do not always produce shorter interviews compared to time diaries, and recall accuracy may depend on the regularity and saliency of the activity and enumerator abilities. The paper suggests that combining promising methodological innovations from other disciplines with mainstream time-use data collection methods would allow capture of both the quantity and quality of time and provide richer insights into gendered time-use patterns. Broadening the scope of time-use research to other aspects of well-being can help identify how time constraints contribute to gender inequality and inform the design of policies and interventions to relieve those constraints.
Epidemics and food systems: What gets framed, gets done
Gillespie, Stuart. Article in press

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This brief article aims to interrogate some widely used concepts in framing the interactions between disease epidemics, food systems and nutrition, with a particular focus on the COVID-19 crisis. How should we conceptualize vulnerability in such situations – both with regard to viral exposure and to subsequent nutrition-relevant impacts of epidemics and responses (including lockdowns)? Is it possible to simultaneously pursue strategies aimed at strengthening resilience and driving transformation (‘building back better’)? What type of framing and conceptualization can help illuminate entry points and options for responding effectively to interacting crises? In addressing these questions, it’s important to re-visit lessons from past attempts to address the impacts of epidemics on food and nutrition security.
Quantitatively evaluating the cross-sectoral and one health impact of interventions: A scoping review and application to antibiotic resistance
Naylor, Nichola R.; Lines, Jo; Waage, Jeff; Wieland, Barbara; Knight, Gwenan M.. Article in press

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Current published guidance on how to evaluate antibiotic resistance (ABR) from a One Health perspective has focussed on the evaluation of intervention design and of the implementation process. For efficient resource allocation, it is also important to consider quantitative measures of intervention impact. In particular, there has been little discussion of how to practically evaluate ABR-related agri- and aquaculture interventions from a public health perspective. Lessons can be learned from other One Health and cross-sectoral intervention impact evaluations. WebofScience, EconLit, PubMed and grey literature were searched for literature quantitatively evaluating interventions across humans, animals and/or the environment. The review included 90 studies: 73 individual evaluations (from 72 papers) and 18 reviews, all including some measure of human impact, but only 29 papers covered all three One Health perspectives (human, animal and environmental). To provide decision makers with expected outcome estimates that are related to their objective, evaluations should provide outcome estimates from multiple different perspectives; individual, microeconomic and/or macroeconomic perspectives across the One Health system should be taken into account. Based on the methods found in this review, a multi-level compartmental modelling approach for ABR-related intervention evaluation is proposed. The outcomes of such models can then feed into multi-criteria-decision analyses that weigh outcomes alongside other chosen outcome estimates (for example equity or uncertainty). It is key that future quantitative evaluation models on ABR-related interventions are shared (for example through open source code sharing websites) to avoid duplication of effort and to enable more comprehensive estimates of intervention impact to be modelled in the future.
Genetic variability, diversity and interrelationship for twelve grain minerals in 122 commercial pearl millet cultivars in India
Govindaraj, Mahalingam; Yadav, O. P.; Rajpurohit, B. S.; Kanatti, A.; Rai, Kedar N.; Dwivedi, Sangam L.. Article in press

Ordering of high-density markers by the k-optimal algorithm for the traveling-salesman problem
Zhang, Luyan; Li, Huihui; Meng, Lei; Wang, Jiankang. Article in press

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Construction of accurate and high-density linkage maps is a key research area of genetics. We investigated the efficiency of genetic map construction (MAP) using modifications of the k-Optimal (k-Opt) algorithm for solving the traveling-salesman problem (TSP). For TSP, different initial routes resulted in different optimal solutions. The most optimal solution could be found only by use of as many initial routes as possible. But for MAP, a large number of initial routes resulted in one optimal order. k-Opt using open route length gave a slightly higher proportion of correct orders than the method of adding one virtual marker and using closed route length. Recombination frequency (REC) and logarithm of odds (LOD) score gave similar proportions of correct order, higher than that given by genetic distance. Both missing markers and genotyping error reduced ordering accuracy, but the best order was still achieved with high probability by comparison of the optimal orders from multiple initial routes. Computation time increased rapidly with marker number, and 2-Opt took much less time than 3-Opt. The 2-Opt algorithm was compared with ordering methods used in two other software packages. The best method was 2-Opt using open route length as the criterion to identify the optimal order and using REC or LOD as the measure of distance between markers. We describe a unified software interface for using k-Opt in high-density linkage map construction for a wide range of genetic populations.
Predictors of intention to integrate biofortified orange-fleshed sweetpotato in child feeding: A field information experiment in rural Kenya
Lagerkvist, Carl Johan; Mutiso, Janet Mwende; Okello, Julius Juma; Muoki, Penina; Oluoch-Kosura, Willis; Heck, Simon. Article in press

Genotype × environment interactions for grain iron and zinc content in rice
Naik, Shilpa M.; Raman, Anitha K.; Nagamallika, Minnuru; Venkateshwarlu, Challa; Singh, Suresh Prasad. Article in press

Can household dietary diversity inform about nutrient adequacy? Lessons from a food systems analysis in Ethiopia
Mekonnen, Daniel Ayalew; Talsma, Elise F.; Trijsburg, Laura; Linderhof, Vincent; Achterbosch, Thom; Nijhuis, Aafke; Ruben, Ruerd; Brouwer, Inge D.. Article in press

Abstract | View

This study examined the use of the household dietary diversity score (HDDS) to assess household nutrient adequacy in Ethiopia. It also examined the correlates of HDDS following the food systems framework. Results show that the average nutrient consumption in Ethiopia varies by place of residence and by income profile, where households in urban areas and those in the higher income quintiles rank favorably. Among 13 nutrients under study, we found nutrient inadequacy for fat, calcium, zinc, riboflavin, niacin, folate, vitamin C and vitamin A ranging between 46% and 89%, and the prevalence of inadequacy for vitamin B12 to be up to 100%. Econometric results showed that HDDS is a strong predictor of a household’s mean probability of nutrient adequacy (MPA), and that an HDDS of 10 is the minimum threshold at which HDDS can improve household MPA. We found suggestive evidence within the food systems that improving household-incomes, access to health and transport services are beneficial to improve HDDS and nutrient consumption in Ethiopia.
Early intensification of backyard poultry systems in the tropics: A case study
Chaiban, C.; Robinson, T. P.; Fèvre, E. M.; Ogola, J.; Akoko, J.; Gilbert, M.; Vanwambeke, S. O.. Article in press

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Poultry production is an important way of enhancing the livelihoods of rural populations, especially in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). As poultry production in LMICs remains dominated by backyard systems with low inputs and low outputs, considerable yield gaps exist. Intensification can increase poultry productivity, production and income. This process is relatively recent in LMICs compared to high-income countries. The management practices and the constraints faced by smallholders trying to scale-up their production, in the early stages of intensification, are poorly understood and described. We thus investigated the features of the small-scale commercial chicken sector in a rural area distant from major production centres. We surveyed 111 commercial chicken farms in Kenya in 2016. We targeted farms that sell the majority of their production, owning at least 50 chickens, partly or wholly confined and provided with feeds. We developed a typology of semi-intensive farms. Farms were found mainly to raise dual-purpose chickens of local and improved breeds, in association with crops and were not specialized in any single product or market. We identified four types of semi-intensive farms that were characterized based on two groups of variables related to intensification and accessibility: (i) remote, small-scale old farms, with small flocks, growing a lot of their own feed; (ii) medium-scale, old farms with a larger flock and well located in relation to markets and (iii) large-scale recently established farms, with large flocks, (iii-a) well located and buying chicks from third-party providers and (iii-b) remotely located and hatching their own chicks. The semi-intensive farms we surveyed were highly heterogeneous in terms of size, age, accessibility, management, opportunities and challenges. Farm location affects market access and influences the opportunities available to farmers, resulting in further diversity in farm profiles. The future of these semi-intensive farms could be compromised by several factors, including the competition with large-scale intensive farmers and with importations. Our study suggests that intensification trajectories in rural areas of LMICs are potentially complex, diverse and non-linear. A better understanding of intensification trajectories should, however, be based on longitudinal data. This could, in turn, help designing interventions to support small-scale farmers.
Modeling and simulation of recurrent phenotypic and genomic selections in plant breeding under the presence of epistasis
Ali, Mohsin; Zhang, Luyan; DeLacy, Ian; Arief, Vivi; Dieters, Mark; Pfeiffer, Wolfgang H.; Wang, Jiankang; Li, Huihui. Article in press

Abstract | View

Recurrent selection is an important breeding method for population improvement and selecting elite inbreds or fixed lines from the improved germplasm. Recently, a computer simulation tool called QuMARS has been developed, which allows the simulation and optimization of various recurrent selection strategies. Our major objective in this study was to use the QuMARS tool to compare phenotypic recurrent, marker-assisted recurrent, and genomic selections (abbreviated respectively as PS, MARS and GS) for both short- and long- term breeding procedures. For MARS, two marker selection models were considered, i.e., stepwise (Rstep) and forward regressions (Forward). For GS, three prediction models were considered, i.e., genomic best linear unbiased predictors (GBLUP), ridge regression (Ridge), and regression by Moore-Penrose general inverse (InverseMP). To generate genotypes and phenotypes for a given individual during simulation, one additive and two epistasis genetic models were considered with three levels of heritability. Results demonstrated that selection responses from GBLUP-based GS and MARS (Forward) were consistently greater than those from PS under the additive model, particularly in early selection cycles. In contrast, selection response from PS was consistently superior over MARS and GS under epistatic models. For the two epistasis models, total genetic variance and the additive variance component were increased in some cases after selection. Through simulation, we concluded that GS and PS were effective recurrent selection methods for improved breeding of targeted traits controlled by additive and epistatic quantitative trait loci (QTL). QuMARS provides an opportunity for breeders to compare, optimize and integrate new technology into their conventional breeding programs.
IFPRI at a glance
International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). Washington, DC 2020

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The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) believes that by working together, the global community can sustainably reduce poverty and end hunger and malnutrition. IFPRI provides cutting-edge research and policy options on food and nutrition security to support these goals. For more than 40 years, IFPRI has collaborated with stakeholders and partners to contribute needed evidence for country- and region-led policies that help ensure that all people have access to safe, sufficient, nutritious, and sustainably grown food.