Food belief practices amongst rural and urban mothers in Nepal: A qualitative overview

Authors: Acharya, J., van Teijlingen, E., Hind, M. and Murphy, J.

Conference: BNAC 15th Nepal Study Days, 12-13 April 2017,

Dates: 12-13 April 2017


Pages: 1-16


Place of Publication: London


Background: Mothers in Nepal misunderstand the role of healthy eating to combat nutritional problems in their children. These beliefs and attitudes can result in the improper feeding of young children which can lead to several complications, particularly in preschool-aged children.

Objective: To study food beliefs and attitudes, and behaviour of mothers related to feeding preschool aged children and key barriers to healthier eating.

Methods: A qualitative research comprising seven focus groups discussions of 50 participants in total. Focus groups were recorded and transcribed, translated and the data were analysed using a thematic analysis.

Results: Our focus groups identified six key themes related to food beliefs such as poverty, knowledge, resources, policy, environmental effects, and beliefs and cultural influences. For example, one participant stated ‘…many families, around my working area, believed that feeding of pregnant women a lot of food will make delivery difficult, so they even reduce the amount of food once they notice the pregnancy. Thus, I have observed that many pregnant women are being prevented from (eating) healthy food’ (FGD, Mothers’ Group).

Conclusion: Mothers’ attitudes and views appear to be poorly-informed. Mothers from both rural and urban communities had high faiths in spiritual healers. A public health approach is needed to address nutrition problems associated with behaviour.

Source: Manual