A scoping review of social-behaviour change techniques applied in complementary feeding interventions

Aimee Webb Girard, Emma Waugh, Sarah Sawyer, Lenette Golding, Usha Ramakrishnan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Education and other strategies to promote optimal complementary feeding can significantly improve practices, but little is known about the specific techniques successful interventions use to achieve behaviour change. We reviewed the literature for complementary feeding interventions in low-/middle-income countries (LMIC) published since 2000. We systematically applied a validated taxonomy mapping process to code specific behaviour change techniques (BCTs) used in each intervention; effectiveness ratios for each BCT were estimated. Sixty-four interventions met inclusion criteria, were abstracted, BCTs identified, and coded. Dietary diversity was the most commonly assessed component of complementary feeding, and interpersonal communication, either individually or in groups, was the most commonly used delivery platform. Of the 93 BCTs available for mapping, the 64 interventions included in this review applied a total of 28 BCTs. Interventions used a median of six techniques (max = 13; min = 2). All interventions used “instruction on how to perform the behaviour.” Other commonly applied BCTs included “use of a credible source” (n = 46), “demonstration of the behaviour” (n = 35), and “providing information about health consequences” (n = 30). Forty-three interventions reported strategies to shift the physical or social environment. Among BCTs used in >20 interventions, five had effectiveness ratios >0.8: “provision of/enabling social support”; “providing information about health consequences”; “demonstration of the behaviour”; and “adding objects to the environment” namely, food, supplements, or agricultural inputs. The limited reporting of theory-based BCTs in complementary feeding interventions may impede efforts to improve and scale effective programs and reduce the global burden of malnutrition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere12882
JournalMaternal and Child Nutrition
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020


  • LMIC
  • behaviour change
  • complementary feeding
  • review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'A scoping review of social-behaviour change techniques applied in complementary feeding interventions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this