Date of Award

January 2014

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


School of Public Health

First Advisor

Debbie L. Humphries


Positive deviance research seeks out well-nourished children living in disadvantaged contexts with the intention of identifying local growth-promoting behaviors that contribute to their relatively healthy status. The aim of this study was to explore positive child health behaviors in the Dharavi slum of Mumbai. Children with a height-for-age z-score (HAZ)>0 (n=10) or a HAZ<-2.0 (n=12) were purposefully selected from the Society for Nutrition Education and Health Action's (SNEHA) Child Health and Nutrition program, a child growth monitoring program. Qualitative methods were employed by means of semi-structured interviews with mothers. Eligibility was restricted to households with limited resources and more than one child. A 24-hour dietary recall and anthropometric measurements were taken for the index child. An observation checklist assessed household hygiene. Coding was based on the Grounded Theory of qualitative research. Emergent themes among positive deviant families included: optimal infant and young child feeding practices; maternal information seeking behaviors; adequately managing household hygiene and food allocation; acknowledging the importance of maternal health; and social support. Common among all participants was the consumption of high-energy/non-nutritional snacks, the value of education, and an inability to save money. Findings will be disseminated to SNEHA for program improvement.


This is an Open Access Thesis.

Open Access

This Article is Open Access