A six-month nutrition education intervention on pulse and other food consumption was conducted in mothers of children under-5 in the pulse-growing region of Halaba, south Ethiopia. The intervention incorporated the health belief model, on Knowledge, Attitude and Practices (KAP), and objective measures included dietary diversity scores (DDS), dietary intakes and nutritional status.
Between March 2013-April 2014, 200 mother-child pairs, randomly selected from each of two purposively selected communities participated in an intervention-control study. A six-month nutrition education program, involving interactive monthly community meetings and home-visits, was offered to one of the communities and the other served as a control. Demographics, KAP, food perceptions, DDS, dietary and anthropometric information were collected at baseline and end-line. Focus group discussions (FGD) with local farmers also occurred.
Significant improvements in the intervention group were found from baseline to endline for KAP and perceptions of pulse nutrition benefits among mothers; DDS and pulse and animal source food consumption indexes for both mothers and children; and mean body-mass index-for-age (BMI-for-age) z-score and wasting among children. Farmers in the FDG also expressed improved intention to produce and retain more pulses for home consumption. No such changes were found in the control community.
Community-based nutrition education interventions involving monthly interactive community meetings and home-visits in traditional pulse-growing communities could be effective in improving mothers’ knowledge of pulse nutrition and consumption frequency. Such interventions can lead to increasing DDS in mothers and their children, and decreasing underweight and wasting among children in rural Ethiopia.