WhatsApp group interventions to improve nutrition

Testing scalable interventions to improve the nutrition of women in developing countries

Despite efforts to curb lifestyle related diseases and enable women in developing countries to gain knowledge on how to improve their health and wellbeing, there is an urgent need for better solutions. This study will design and test scalable interventions to improve both the nourishment and the nutritional-related knowledge of women in developing countries. The research will then examine how the interventions can improve the uptake of a healthier and carbon-reducing grain alternative, specifically millet.




The challenge

The United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals include ending hunger – achieving food security and improved nutrition, promoting sustainable agriculture, ensuring healthy lives, promoting well-being for all and ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns. Health provisions and interventions that are targeted to improving the nutrition of women in developing countries, however, are often inadequate. The consequences of poor nutrition, which includes malnutrition, anaemia, obesity, etc., are seen to negatively impact the productivity and economic opportunities of these women.

The intervention

The intervention the research proposes is twofold; online nutrition information sessions need to be delivered by a healthcare provider, as well as a pathway for participants to access a millet subsidy through a slum storefront. The sessions will delve into a range of topics, including the importance of nutrition, the purchasing and consumption of healthier foods, subjective well-being measures and health biomarkers whilst providing a group of 1000 women with information on millet. The subsidising of millet is encouraged by the UN’s 2023 declaration, and the grain’s nutritional benefits to Africa and South Asia in curbing lifestyle diseases, including diabetes, heart disease and strokes, which debilitate poor country populations.

The potential impact

This research has the potential to inform and support the design and development of accessible healthcare models and the implementation of delivery models that combine telehealth technology and group care delivery models (e.g., shared medical appointments) in developing countries. Both policymakers and private sector entities primarily in India and also in Low-Income-Countries (LICs) and Low-and-Middle-Income Countries (LMICs) globally, would greatly benefit from a scalable smartphone-based intervention.

This intervention aims to promote better nutrition whilst simultaneously curbing climate change by encouraging the consumption of millet, a healthier and carbon-reducing grain alternative.