Research Key

Nutrition knowledge, dietary diversity and nutritional status of pregnant women in Kumba

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All human beings need balanced amount of nutrients for proper functioning of the body system. Nutrition education is one of the important components of antenatal care. It is a widely used strategy to improve nutrition knowledge of pregnant women seeking antenatal care. Furthermore, healthy nutritional statuses and dietary diversity of mothers influence health statuses of the fetus as well as healthy habits. Adequate nutrition knowledge at this stage will play a bigger role in their daily practices. However, a lot of studies to access the level of nutritional knowledge on pregnant women attending antenatal have been done but no study has explored the nutritional knowledge, dietary diversity and nutritional status of pregnant women attending antenatal care in Kumba Municipality. The objective of this study was to assess the nutritional knowledge, dietary diversity and nutritional status of pregnant women attending antenatal care in Kumba Municipality.

The study used the descriptive, cross sectional survey design which employed a mixed-method approach. Total of 250 pregnant women attending antenatal care were recruited into the study through non-probability sampling. The study, using a semi structured questionnaire to determine the socioeconomic and demographic characteristics of respondents, assessed nutritional knowledge and 24-hour dietary recall was used to assess the dietary diversity. Anthropometric measurement of the Body Mass Index (BMI) was used to assess the nutritional status of the women. The study used Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 20 software and Nutri-survey software for data entry and analysis.

Majority (43.2%) of the participants were within the age category of 26-35 years, more than half (55.2%) were single while (44.8%) were married. A majority of the respondents (33.2%) were housewives, the dominant education level (29.6%) was less than Ordinary Level and a majority of the respondents (36.4%) had a monthly income of less the 50.000fcfa.

On assessment of dietary diversity it showed that having consumed at least four food groups 61.2% met the minimum dietary diversity score for women. On the level of nutritional knowledge, 22.8% displayed adequate levels of nutrition knowledge with regards to aspects of nutrition during pregnancy, while 36.8% had low knowledge score. The level of nutritional knowledge was strongly associated with the number of antenatal care visits. Nutritional status was assessed by calculation the body mass indent of the pregnant women with 87.6% of the pregnant women had normal nutritional status with 12.4% being undernourished.

From the research findings, pregnant women who received nutrition education while attending antenatal care in Kumba have adequate maternal nutrition knowledge and dietary diversity score.

Key words:  antenatal care, pregnant women, nutrition knowledge, dietary diversity, nutrition status

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