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To explore the factors affecting intra-household food allocation practices to inform the development of interventions to prevent low birth weight in rural plains of Nepal.
Qualitative methodology using purposive sampling to explore the barriers and facilitating factors to improved maternal nutrition.
Rural Dhanusha District, Nepal.
We purposively sampled twenty-five young daughters-in-law from marginalised groups living in extended families and conducted semi-structured interviews with them. We also conducted one focus group discussion with men and one with female community health volunteers who were mothers-in-law.
Gender and age hierarchies were important in household decision making. The mother-in-law was responsible for ensuring that a meal was provided to productive household members. The youngest daughter-in-law usually cooked last and ate less than other family members, and showed respect for other family members by cooking only when permitted and deferring to others’ choice of food. There were limited opportunities for these women to snack between main meals. Daughters-in-law’ movement outside the household was restricted and therefore family members perceived that their nutritional need was less. Poverty affected food choice and families considered cost before nutritional value.
It is important to work with the whole household, particularly mothers-in-law, to improve maternal nutrition. We present five barriers to behaviour change: poverty; lack of knowledge about cheap nutritional food, the value of snacking, and cheap nutritional food that does not require cooking; sharing food; lack of self-confidence; and deference to household guardians. We discuss how we have targeted our interventions to develop knowledge, discuss strategies to overcome barriers, engage mothers-in-law, and build the confidence and social support networks of pregnant women.
To outline the development of a smartphone-based tool to collect thrice-repeated 24 h dietary recall data in rural Nepal, and to describe energy intakes, common errors and researchers’ experiences using the tool.
We designed a novel tool to collect multi-pass 24 h dietary recalls in rural Nepal by combining the use of a CommCare questionnaire on smartphones, a paper form, a QR (quick response)-coded list of foods and a photographic atlas of portion sizes. Twenty interviewers collected dietary data on three non-consecutive days per respondent, with three respondents per household. Intakes were converted into nutrients using databases on nutritional composition of foods, recipes and portion sizes.
Dhanusha and Mahottari districts, Nepal.
Pregnant women, their mothers-in-law and male household heads. Energy intakes assessed in 150 households; data corrections and our experiences reported from 805 households and 6765 individual recalls.
Dietary intake estimates gave plausible values, with male household heads appearing to have higher energy intakes (median (25th–75th centile): 12 079 (9293–14 108) kJ/d) than female members (8979 (7234–11 042) kJ/d for pregnant women). Manual editing of data was required when interviewers mistook portions for food codes and for coding items not on the food list. Smartphones enabled quick monitoring of data and interviewer performance, but we initially faced technical challenges with CommCare forms crashing.
With sufficient time dedicated to development and pre-testing, this novel smartphone-based tool provides a useful method to collect data. Future work is needed to further validate this tool and adapt it for other contexts.
To develop and validate a photographic food atlas of common foods for dietary assessment in southern Nepal.
We created a life-sized photographic atlas of forty locally prepared foods. Between March and June 2014, data collectors weighed portion sizes that respondents consumed during one mealtime and then a different data collector revisited the household the next day to record respondents’ estimations of their previous day’s intakes using the atlas. Validity was assessed by percentage error, Cohen’s weighted kappa (κw) and Bland–Altman limits of agreement.
Dhanusha and Mahottari districts in southern Nepal.
A random sample of ninety-five adults in forty-eight rural households with a pregnant woman.
Overall, respondents underestimated their intakes (mean error =−4·5 %). Rice and dal (spiced lentil soup) intakes were underestimated (−14·1 % and −34·5 %, respectively), but vegetable curry intake was overestimated (+20·8 %). Rice and vegetable curry portion size images were significantly reliably selected (Cohen’s κw (se): rice=0·391 (0·105); vegetable curry=0·430 (0·139)), whereas dal images were not. Energy intake over one mealtime was under-reported by an average of 569 kJ (136 kcal; 4·5 % error) using recall compared with the weighing method.
The photographic atlas is a useful tool for field estimation of dietary intake. Average errors were low, and there was ‘modest’ agreement between weighed and recalled portion size image selection of rice and vegetable curry food items. Error in energy estimation was low but with wide limits of agreement, suggesting that there is scope for future work to reduce error further.
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