Beliefs, attitudes and knowledge about a healthy diet among rural and urban mothers of Nepal

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

Conference: Micronutrient Forum 5 Global Conference 2020: Building New Evidence and Alliances for Improving Nutrition

Dates: 23-27 March 2020

Abstract:

Objective: The study aimed to assess the beliefs, attitudes and knowledge about healthy diets among mothers of Kaski district of Nepal whose children are aged 3 to 5 and to identify major barriers for recommending or using healthy food. The study also evaluates the health-seeking behaviours for undernourished children and the reasons why.

Methods: A cross-sectional, community-based survey of 524 mothers in Kaski district among children aged 36-60 months who are no longer breastfed at the time. The study questionnaire included: beliefs, attitudes, knowledge and socio-demographic measurements about nutritious food, food recommendation and barriers, food insecurity and health-seeking behaviours. Data were added to a computer database and analysed using SPSS.

Results: The mothers perceived major barriers to recommending nutritious foods to include: lack of knowledge (19%); high market prices (21%); and cultural influences or beliefs (7%). The study showed nearly 55% of children were given fruit once a week. Almost 37% of mothers never gave meat, fish and eggs regularly to their children and 34% of mothers could not choose nutritious food from the grocery store, 12% of the respondents lacked food. The majority of children (57%) had been taken at least once to a spiritual healer for treatment and 16% more than once.

Conclusions: Mothers from both rural and urban communities have high faith in spiritual healers. Levels of knowledge were low in both urban and rural mothers as to what food is nutritious whilst their attitudes and views appear to be ill-informed.

Source: Manual