SPOON: Sustained Program for Improving Nutrition - Colombia

Primary Investigator

  • Sebastian Martinez, Inter-American Development Bank

Study Period

February 2018 - January 2020

Study Description

The primary goal of this study is to prevent undernutrition and obesity in peri-urban areas of Colombia. This study is designed to evaluate the impact of promoting adequate feeding practices and the use of SQ-LNS (Small Quantity Lipid-Based Nutrient Supplements) on the nutritional status of infants and young children. The study will be conducted in peri-urban areas of Pasto, Colombia in conjunction with Fundación Saldarriaga Concha and the Colombian Ministry of Health and Social Protection.

SPOON Colombia is an innovative strategy to prevent undernutrition and obesity in children aged 0-24 months living in high-poverty areas of Colombia. The SPOON program aims to improve infant and young children feeding practices, including exclusive breastfeeding during a child's first six months and home-fortification with peanut-based SQ-LNS (small quantity lipid-based nutrient supplements) for children 6 to 24 months of age.

The SPOON intervention will randomly assign participants at the household level to one of three groups: a control group, Treatment Group 1, and Treatment Group 2. Participants in the control group will receive the standard services provided by their local health clinics in addition to a supply of micronutrient powder. The powder consists of vitamins and minerals that are added to the child's food to increase his or her consumption of micronutrients. Participants in Treatment Group 1 will receive group counseling and the SQ-LNS supplement instead of micronutrient powder. The group counseling program consists of various lessons for the children's caregivers about the importance of breastfeeding and providing high quality food with the SQ-LNS supplement. Those assigned to Treatment Group 2 will receive all the services that those in Treatment Group 1 receive in addition to individualized counseling, where messages about nutrition and breastfeeding will be reinforced through home visits.

Comparing the three treatment arms will identify the marginal impact of the SPOON program. For example, measuring the differences in outcomes between the participants in the control arm and in Treatment Group 1 will identify the impact of the Spoon program package, which includes SQ-LNS and group counseling, compared to current government-provided services. Measuring the differences between Treatment Group 1 and Treatment Group 2 will indicate the marginal impact of individualized counseling, and measuring the difference between the control arm and Treatment Group 2 will determine the combined impact of the SPOON program combined with individualized counseling.

Study Arms

  • Experimental: Standard Counseling and Micronutrients
  • Experimental: SPOON Group Counseling with SQ-LNS
  • Experimental: Group, Interpersonal Counseling, SQ-LNS

Primary Outcomes

  • Change in Height and Weight from Baseline to 8 months old [ Time Frame: Measured when child is 6 months old at baseline and when child is 8 months old ]

Study Interventions

  • Standard Lipid-Based Nutrient Supplements (LNS)
  • Behavior change communication (BCC)
  • Micronutrient powders (MNP)

Research Gaps

  • Effectiveness

    How well do different food compositions and interventions prevent or treat undernutrition, when implemented "on the ground"?

Study Population

3000