Browsing by Subject "laadulliset menetelmät"

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  • Hauta-alus, Helena (Helsingfors universitet, 2011)
    Humans all over the world are selecting food items from a larger pool of potentially edible foods and are creating prohibitions and preferences for certain foods. These are called food beliefs and they are an important part of the local culture. Reasoning to them often lies in health or social respect. Many food beliefs still exist in Africa and pregnant and breastfeeding women and children are often the target of these beliefs. Under the suboptimal nutritional status or food insecurity the possible food beliefs might considerably affect the nutritional status and health of these vulnerable groups. Malnutrition is still a major problem in Africa and other developing countries. The aim of this thesis was to study whether and what types of food beliefs concerning pregnant and breastfeeding women can be found in the rural area of the Zambezia province, Mozambique. Furthermore, the aim was to evaluate their possible significance on nutritional status. Five group interviews in three villages and 10 individual interviews in two villages were done. Interviewees were women of 12 to 78 years of age and all together 27 women were interviewed. Interpretation, sensitivity of the topic and the inexperience of the interviewer caused challenges in conducting the interviews. Because of this the method was altered and changed from group interview to individual interview during the study. Food beliefs differed between villages and within villages but some common characteristics can be found. There are several food beliefs concerning pregnant and breastfeeding women in the study area. Pregnant women were advised not to eat protein rich foods such meat and fish but were recommended to eat vegetables, fruits and cereal foods during pregnancy. Eggs were both recommended and forbidden during pregnancy. In addition, there was an intentional habit for pregnant women to eat less cassava porridge or less food in general („eating down?). During breastfeeding nothing was forbidden in general but coconut and vegetables were recommended. Most of the reasonings were related to the health of a mother and a child. The reasonings can be divided into the following groups: enhances breast milk production, causes stomach pain, maintains fitness and prevents stomach growth, mother will be strong and healthy and she?ll get vitamins, the child?s appearance changes, child will be strong and healthy, child?s behaviour changes, causes miscarriage, causes easy or difficult delivery. Food beliefs were partly mixed with education from health authorities. Almost all women said that they do follow these beliefs. Few women expressed their concerns about following the beliefs on recommended foods since food availability makes it sometimes difficult. Food belief that forbids good protein sources from pregnant women can increase the risk of protein deficiency. Eating down increases the risk of having not enough energy during pregnancy. The recommended foods are mainly nutritious and likely promote health. It can be stated that when starting a research in a foreign culture, it is necessary to have a flexible research method. It is be very important that the method can be adjusted during the study. The conclusion of this thesis was that individual interviews would have been the most suitable method when studying food beliefs in this area. Individual interviews should have only one interviewer, interviewee and interpreter if needed. All should be the same sex and the age group. From the health and nutrition viewpoint it is vital to be aware of the food beliefs in the society under investigation and to study these specifically in the area because these can vary markedly even in the same village or community.