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Impact of health education on the feeding of green leafy vegetables at home to children of the urban poor mothers of Bangladesh

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Mujibur Rahman, M., M. Aminul Islam, et al. (1994). "Impact of health education on the feeding of green leafy vegetables at home to children of the urban poor mothers of Bangladesh." Public Health 108(3): 211-218.

METHODS: To evaluate the impact of health education on mothers, on the feeding of their children green leafy vegetables (GLV) at home, we studied 160 children aged 6 to 35 months and their mothers in two intervention groups and one comparison group. The mothers of the first intervention group (n = 44) were given health education including a feeding demonstration, by offering a single meal of cooked GLV to their children. The mothers in the second intervention group (n = 36) received health education only. Mothers of both the intervention groups were visited at home after eight weeks of intervention without prior notice, and for each of them an immediate neighbourhood mother having a child in the same age range was selected as a comparison mother (n = 80). During this visit, mothers were asked whether they had cooked GLV that day and fed these to their children; this was confirmed by spot checking. Also, mothers were interviewed to elicit their perceptions about GLV.

RESULTS: The percentages of mothers who thought that GLV are good for health were 88.7%, 86.1% and 76.2% in groups 1, 2 and comparison respectively (P = 0.06). However, the percentages of mothers who actually fed their children GLV were 57%, 64% and 26% in groups 1, 2 and comparison group respectively (P < 0.001). The influence of health education on GLV feeding persisted after controlling for the effect of maternal literacy (Mantel Haenszel chi-square = 16.99; P < 0.0001) and family income (Mantel Haenszel chi-square = 17.36; P < 0.0001). This study suggests that health education has a positive impact on mothers to feed their children GLV and should be considered in programmes aiming at alleviating vitamin A deficiency.

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