Changes in Maternal Nutritional Knowledge and its Relationship with Child Nutritional Status in the Volta Region of Ghana
AbstractNutrition education has been used as a weapon against childhood malnutrition in Ghana, however, there is little evidence concerning its impact on maternal nutritional knowledge and child nutritional status. The purpose of this study was to find out whether changes have occurred in maternal nutritional knowledge during an eight year period and whether any changes observed will be related to the prevalence of child malnutrition. Data for the study were collected in the same study areas in 1993 and 2001 on maternal attitudes, beliefs and knowledge related to child nutritional status. Variables analyzed in this study were the ones that have been included in nutrition messages given to the mothers at the health centers where the data were collected. Data were also collected on the prevalence of childhood malnutrition. Results revealed significant changes in maternal nutritional knowledge from 1993 to 2001. Mothers interviewed in 2001 had better nutritional knowledge than mothers in 1993. The data on malnutrition prevalence showed an increase in the prevalence rate from 1993 to 1998. This suggests that the nutritional knowledge acquired by the mothers have not been translated in to behavior. Similar findings have been reported in the literature and there has been the suggestion that for nutrition knowledge to be put into practice, several conditions must be present. For example, (1) there is the need for both declarative and procedural knowledge, (2) there must be motivation to act, (3) new knowledge should fit into the schema of the individual and (4) resources needed to implement new information ought to be available. It was concluded that in order for nutrition education to have the desired impact, there is the need to incorporate these factors in the design and implementation of such programs.
Key Words: nutrition education, attitude change
IFE Psychologia Vol.12(2) 2004: 213-228