Food aversion, craving and taboo of pregnant women in Hadiya zone, Ethiopia: prevalence and their significance in maternal nutrition
MetadataShow full item record
A cross-sectional study on the prevalence and nutrition~l significance of food aversion, food craving and food taboo during pregnancy, was carr ied-out in Southern Ethiopia. Three hundred women who attended antenatal clinic for routine check-up between February and May 1995 were interviewed on dietary craving, aversion and food taboo they experienced in the course of their current pregnancy. Along with~he interview, mid-upper arm circumference, triceps skinfold thickness, height and weight measurements, were taken for assessment of nutritional status. The results indicate that slightly less than three quarters (71%) craved some foods, while about two thirds (65%) averted at least one food. A little over a quarter (27%) avoided some foods due to food taboos. Cereal foods were averted by more women (41%) than any other food, although these are staple foods in the area. Livestock products were craved by more women (55%) while at the same time were avoided by more than two thirds (66.9%). Aversion and craving were not related to education, gravidae, income, residence or age, but, food taboos were found to be related to education and income (p<O.05). xv More women of low education and from low income groups observed food taboos compared to women of better education and in the middle income group. Using American reference values, the study showed a high prevalence of malnutrition in the area. Only 18.9% achieved recommended weight gain of 0.45 kg per week. Similarly, only 9.8% and 6.6% were found to lie in the normal ranges of triceps skinfold thickness and midupper arm circumference, respectively. Comparisons of various nutritional indicators among averting and non-averting groups revealed unexpected ·.;resutls. Averting groups had signif icantly higher mid-upper arm circumference and triceps skin fold thickness compared to non-averting groups (p<0.05). Those craving women who managed to get the desired foods showed better nutritional status , than those who did not get (p<0.05). The results also indicate that aversion was positively associated with cravlng (Xl=10.66, p<O.OOl; odds ratio=2.36). Women who averted foods were 2.36 times more likely to crave foods than those who did not avert any food. This may imply that aversion and craving are complementary processes geared towards insuring optimum nutrition during pregnancy. Aversion entails avoidance of monotonous diets, while craving calls for varied and nutritious foods. A thorough study is, however, recommended before such a conclusion is warranted.