Date of Conferral

2015

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Public Policy and Administration

Advisor

Kevin J. Fandl

Abstract

In Ethiopia, 17% of pregnant women ages 18-49 are malnourished and have low awareness of prenatal nutrition, which may relate to increasingly high rates of maternal and infant mortality. The purpose of this mixed methods research study was to determine the effects of a community-based prenatal nutrition education intervention program on maternal nutrition knowledge and attitudes in the Alaje district of Ethiopia. The theoretical framework was Sen's capability theory of poverty, in which opportunities can lead to well-being and promote economic development. Research questions focused on the relationships among 8 independent variablesâ??age, income source, degree of program implementation, marital status, education, number of pregnancies, number of children, and occupationâ??with respect to maternal nutrition knowledge and attitudes. Health workers recruited 135 pregnant and non-pregnant women in each of 2 villages: Dejen (control village) and Takha (experimental village), totaling 270 participants. The community intervention program was an add-on to the Ethiopian government's nutrition program and provided information on portion sizes, the importance of eating an extra meal each day, and obtaining adequate rest during pregnancy. Data from customized pretest and posttest focus groups and surveys were collected. Focus groups were analyzed manually and surveys were analyzed using 1-way ANOVAs and descriptive statistical analyses. The key findings were that the women in Takha had significantly greater knowledge of the importance of prenatal health requirements. The implications for positive social change include recommendations for policy makers about proper dietary practices in order to improve pregnancy outcomes related to maternal malnutrition.

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