Diet and physical activity for children’s health: a qualitative study of Nepalese mothers’ perceptions
Design: We notated, tape-recorded and transcribed all data collected from six focus group discussions, and used qualitative content analysis for evaluation and interpretation.
Setting: The study was conducted in the Jhaukhel- Duwakot Health Demographic Surveillance Site in the Bhaktapur district of Nepal.
Participants: Local health workers helped recruit 61 women with children aged 5–10 years. We distributed participants among six different groups according to educational status.
Results: Although participants understood the importance of healthy food, they misunderstood its composition, perceiving it as unappetising and appropriate only for sick people. Furthermore, participants did not prioritise their children’s physical activities. Moreover, mothers believed they had limited control over their children’s dietary habits and physical activity. Finally, they opined that health educational programmes would help mothers and recommended various intervention strategies to increase knowledge regarding a healthy lifestyle.
Conclusions: Our data reveal that mothers of young children in a peri-urban community of Nepal lack adequate and accurate understanding about the impact of a healthy diet and physical activity. Therefore, to prevent future cardiovascular disease and other noncommunicable diseases among children, Nepal needs health education programmes to improve mothers’ cardiovascular health knowledge, attitude and behaviour.