Pregnant mothers have limited knowledge and poor dietary diversity practices, but favorable attitude towards nutritional recommendations in rural Ethiopia: Evidence from community-based study

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Abstract

Background: Mothers' nutrition is crucial for good pregnancy outcomes and in improving children's nutritional status. The present study aimed to examine the level of knowledge and attitude towards maternal nutrition and dietary diversity practices among pregnant mothers in rural central Ethiopia. Methods: In-depth analysis of data from a prospective study involving a total of 389 eligible pregnant women, enrolled during their second antenatal care (ANC) visit was conducted between August 2014 and March 2015. Study participants were selected by employing systematic sampling techniques. Dietary diversity practices were assessed by asking each individual pregnant woman to provide a single 24-h dietary recall. Simple frequencies and graphs were used to present the analyzed data and interpretations. Results: Vegetables were listed top as major sources of vitamin A (45.5%) and iron (23.8%). Nearly half (47%) of the mothers lacked awareness on balanced and diversified diets. Conversely, nearly three fourths (73.8%) and two thirds (66.8%) of them had favorable attitudes towards dietary diversity and early initiation of antenatal care follow up. With a median dietary diversity score of four, starchy staples (100%), legumes and nuts (89.2%) were major food groups consumed by almost all of the mothers included in the study. Conclusion: Though pregnant mothers had limited knowledge and poor dietary diversity practices, they exhibited a relatively favorable attitude towards major nutritional recommendations. Use of antenatal care and its follow up as a point of entry for educating pregnant women and increasing nutrition knowledge and attitude is recommended.

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Zerfu, T. A., & Biadgilign, S. (2018). Pregnant mothers have limited knowledge and poor dietary diversity practices, but favorable attitude towards nutritional recommendations in rural Ethiopia: Evidence from community-based study. BMC Nutrition, 4(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40795-018-0251-x

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