Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Nutrition Research Network: A Home Garden Intervention Improves Child Length-for-Age Z-Score and Household-Level Crop Count and Nutritional Functional Diversity in Rural Guatemala

Document Type


Publication Date



Home gardens may help address childhood malnutrition in low- and middle-income countries. In this quasi-experimental pilot study, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, in collaboration with Maya Health Alliance, evaluated the feasibility of augmenting a standard-of-care nutrition-specific package for Maya children with length-for-age z score ≤-2 (stunting) in rural Guatemala with a nutrition-sensitive home garden intervention. Two agrarian municipalities in Guatemala were included. Families of 70 children with stunting from 1 municipality received the standard-of-care package (food supplementation, multiple micronutrient powders, monthly nutrition home visits, group nutrition classes). Families of 70 children with stunting from another municipality received the standard-of-care package plus a home garden intervention (garden materials, monthly agricultural home visits, agriculture classes). Maternal and child dietary diversity, household food insecurity, child growth, and agricultural indicators were collected at baseline and 6 months later and were analyzed using mixed linear and logistic regression models. Compared with the standard-of-care group, the garden intervention group had improved child (odds ratio [OR] 3.66, 95% CI 0.89-15.10, P = 0.07) and maternal dietary diversity (OR 2.31, 95% CI 0.80-6.65, P = 0.12) and decreased food insecurity (OR 0.38, 95% CI 0.11-1.35, P = 0.14); however, these effects were not statistically significant. Participation in gardens predicted a higher length-for-age z-score (change difference [CD] 0.22 SD, 95% CI 0.05-0.38, P = 0.009), greater crop species count (CD 2.97 crops, 95% CI 1.79-4.16, P < 0.001), and greater nutritional functional diversity (CD 0.04 points, 95% CI 0.01-0.07, P = 0.006) than standard-of-care alone. Home garden interventions are feasible in rural Guatemala and may have potential benefits for child growth when added to other nutrition-specific interventions.

Publication Title

J Acad Nutr Diet







First Page


Last Page