Gretel Pelto
Graduate Professor

Web Bio Page

Current Activities

Current Research Activities
I am working on the concept of “program impact pathway” (PIP) analysis as an approach that can improve both delivery and utilization of nutrition and health services. I seek opportunities to advance not only the approach but its operationalization through the use of mixed methods (including focused ethnography) that can be applied within programmatic contexts.

I am also studying  the potential benefits of premastication of foods for infants by mothers, not only in relation to micronutrients, but also for immunological health.


Biographical Statement
My principal interests are in designing, developing, and testing interventions and strategies to improve maternal and child nutrition, particularly in developing countries. Drawing on my background in medical anthropology, I focus on the use of mixed methods to obtain and analyze information on delivery of services and household utilization of nutrition and health interventions, with an emphasis on methods that are feasible for implementation at a public health level. Currently my primary area of substantive interest is “complementary feeding,” which refers to feeding infants after the point at which breastmilk alone is inadequate to meet their nutritional needs. I focus especially on feeding behaviors, including the concept of “responsive feeding.” I am also conducting research on the role of premastication of foods for infants by their mothers, examined from an evolutionary, bio-cultural perspective.

B.A. University of Minnesota, 1963
M.A. University of Minnesota, 1967
Ph.D University of Minnesota 1970

Courses, Websites, Pubs

Selected Publications
Roberfroid, D, Pelto GH, Kolstern P. (2007) Plot and see! Maternal comprehension of growth charts worldwide. Tropical Medicine and International Health. 12(9): 1074-1086.

Bonvecchio A, Pelto GH, Escalante E, Monterrubio E, Habicht JP, Nava F, Villanueva MA, Safdie M, Rivera JA. (2007) Maternal knowledge and use of a micronutrient supplement was improved with a programmatically feasible intervention in Mexico. J Nutr.137(2):440-6.

Pelto GH. (2008) Taking care of Children: applying anthropology in maternal and child nutrition and health. Malinowski Award Lecture 2007. Human Organization, 67 (3): 237-243.

Thairu, L, Pelto GH. (2008) Newborn Care Practices in Pemba Island (Tanzania) and their implications for newborn health and survival. Maternal and Child Nutrition (4):194-208.

Loechl CU., Menon P., Arimond M., Ruel MT, Pelto G , Habicht J-P., Michaud L.(2008) Using programme theory to assess the feasibility of delivering micronutrient Sprinkles through a food-assisted maternal and child health and nutrition programme in rural Haiti Maternal & Child Nutrition; 5: 33-48.