Food superstition, feeding practices and nutritional anthropometry of pregnant women
The survey assessed the food superstition, feeding practices and nutritional anthropometry of pregnant women attending ante-natal clinic in university of Nigeria teaching hospital Ituku/Ozalla, Enugu state, Nigeria. This survey was embarked upon to identify the superstitions held on food during pregnancy among pregnant women attending ante-natal clinic in university of Nigeria teaching hospital Ituku/Ozalla, Enugu state, to determine their acceptance of these superstitions and to assess their feeding practices and nutritional anthropometry. Structured and validated questionnaires were used to obtain information on the socio-economic characteristics, food superstitions and feeding practices of the subjects. Anthropometric indices of the subjects were also assessed using weighing scale, height measuring rod and tape. The data was analyzed using the SPSS version17 to determine the means with their standard deviations, frequencies, and percentages as well as drew charts. The result of the survey shows that the mean weight and height of the subjects were 77.47 ± 12.23kg and 1.66 ± 0.06m respectively. Their mean wrist circumference was 16.17 ± 0.99cm. Also, the mean frame size and mean expected weight were 10.30 ± 0.60 and 66.97 ± 7.91 respectively. Food superstitions were held on foods like fufu, beans, snail, cocoa drink, okro, dika nut, etc. Conclusively, this research has revealed that 29% acknowledged that there is still an existence of food superstition among pregnant women that attend ante-natal in UNTH Ituku/Ozalla and about 19% of them still practice it. The feeding pattern of this 19% was being affected by these superstitions. Their nutritional status is certainly determined by what they eat because "we are what we eat". However, about 42% had normal expected body weight while 58% of pregnant women were malnourished. Hence, I recommend that nutrition education be intensified in ante-natal clinics and different villages in Nigeria to help teach pregnant women on healthy food selection and importance of nutrition before, during and after pregnancy.
Keywords: Food superstition, nutritional anthropometry, pregnant women