Understanding How Dynamic Relationships Among Maternal Agency, Maternal Workload and the Food Environment Affect Food Choices


Impacts of agriculture interventions on women’s time use, agency and consequent food choices in low-income countries are poorly understood. This study aims to (1) determine impacts of agricultural workload on maternal food choices; (2) examine factors influencing food choices and how they interact; (3) develop a tool to predict where agricultural labor-saving devices might increase agriculture intervention nutrition-sensitivity and how to change food environments to improve food choices.  A 3-phase mixed method study will be conducted in rural Uganda. First, we will conduct a cross-sectional survey among women participating or not in a post-harvest labor-saving technologies program. Data will be collected on diet, time-use, personal / external food environments, maternal agency and social networks using traditional and innovative methods (wearable cameras, global positioning system). Data will be analyzed using propensity score matching, confirmatory factor analyses, structural equation modelling, social networking analysis and correspondence analysis to comprehensively understand dynamic interactions affecting desirable food choice.  Second, qualitative data will be collected to triangulate with phase-I and improve our depth of understanding of factors driving food choice decisions. Finally, a tool will be developed to guide the design of nutrition-sensitive agriculture investments and advocate for investment packages/local food systems to improve nutrition. 

Lead Institution

  • Natural Resources Institute (NRI), University of Greenwich 

Collaborating Institutions

  • London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM)
  • Africa Innovations Institute (AfrII)
  • Sasakawa Global 2000 (SG2000)-Uganda  

Principal Investigator(s)

  • Kate Wellard, MSc, PhD, Principal Research Fellow, Agriculture and Innovation, NRI
  • Elaine Ferguson, PhD, Associate Professor, Nutrition, LSHTM
  • Joweria Nambooze, PhD, Nutritionist, AfrII


  • Jan Priebe, MSc, Research Fellow, ICTs for Agriculture, NRI
  • Pamela Katic, PhD, Research Fellow, Quantitative Socioeconomic Methods, NRI
  • Lora Forsythe, PhD, Senior Research Fellow, Gender and Livelihoods, NRI
  • Luigi Palla, PhD, Statistician, Assistant Professor, Medical Statistics and Epidemiology, LSHTM
  • James Murangira, MSc, Post-Harvest Program Manager, SG2000-Uganda
  • Andrea Spray, PhD candidate, Nutrition, LSHTM
  • Gwen Varley, PhD/MPhil candidate, Development Studies, University of Greenwich

Posters & Presentations

  • “Drivers of Food Choice.” By Blake, CE, Frongillo EA, Warren A, Wellard K, Ickowitz A, Schreinemachers P, Flax V. 4th Agriculture, Nutrition & Health (ANH) Academy Week, Hyderabad, India, 24-28 June 2019.
  • “Women’s empowerment in agriculture and its relationship with maternal and child nutritional status and growth in Bugiri and Kamuli districts, Eastern Uganda.” By Varley G, Nambooze J, Spray AL, Priebe J, Forsythe L, Ferguson E, Wellard K. 4th Agriculture, Nutrition and Health (ANH) Academy Week, Hyderabad, India, 24-28 June 2019.
  • “Characterising ratings of 12 commonly consumed foods with respect to a set of desirability attributes in a survey on women’s dietary habits in rural Uganda.” By Palla L, Spray A, Vestri A, Gwen Varley G, Nambooze J, Wellard K, Ferguson E. Proceedings of the 10th National Conference of the Italian Society of Medical Statistics and Clinical Epidemiology, September 2019.
  • “The feasibility and acceptability of information and communication technologies (ICTs) for collection of diet and time use data.” By Spray A, (presenter), Priebe J, Varley G, Nambooze J, Wellard K, Ferguson E. 3rd Agriculture, Nutrition & Health (ANH) Academy Week, Accra, Ghana, 25-29 June 2018.