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NEON: Nurture Early for Optimal Nutrition
The Nurture Early for Optimal Nutrition (NEON) study is a multi-phase project that aims to optimise feeding, care and dental hygiene practices in South Asian children under-2 in East London using participatory learning and action (PLA) cycles facilitated by a multi-lingual community facilitator. It focuses on the Borough of Tower Hamlets and Newham, which has one of the largest South Asian communities in the UK, alongside higher than average rates of child poverty and obesity. The PLA group approach has been recommended by WHO for providing significant improvements in maternal and infant survival in rural settings in low-income countries, and is being reverse innovated to the UK from developing countries for the first time. The first phase consisted of formative research and intervention development in British Bangladeshis and was led by Prof. Monica Lakhanpaul, whilst the current, second phase is a pilot randomised controlled trial and intervention development in all South Asians, which is being led by Dr Logan Manikam. If successful, a cluster randomised controlled trial will follow in East London with subsequent scale-up across the UK. The project can be viewed as cyclical, with each cycle informing on how to improve and adapt the PLA group approach for the next time. Thanks go to Dr Lorna Benton, Ms Jenny Gilmour, Ms Kelley Webb-Martin, Ms Carol Irish, Ms Chanel Edwards and Oliver Lloyd-Houldey for their invaluable assistance. Funding of £805,844 came from NIHR Advanced Fellowship (NIHR300020).
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