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Salud Pública de México

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MARTINEZ, Homero; CAMPERO, Lourdes; RODRIGUEZ, Guadalupe  and  RIVERA, Juan. Acceptance of nutritional supplements among pregnant and lactating women and children under five years of age. Salud pública Méx [online]. 1999, vol.41, n.3, pp.163-169. ISSN 0036-3634.

OBJECTIVE. The present study explores the acceptance and consumption of nutritional supplements that form part of a governmental program to support nutritionally vulnerable groups. MATERIAL AND METHODS. Pregnant and lactating women, and mothers of malnourished toddlers, infants and children were interviewed. Data were collected, after introduction with an interview guide with an open-ended format, through face-to-face interviews conducted at home. Interviews were taped with previous informed consent. Analysis included topics and subtopics approached by the interviewed women. RESULTS. The studied population showed good acceptance to the supplement when offered as a drink. When considering benefits, pregnant women thought first of their baby's health than of their own and associated the possible advantages of the supplement to its "vitamin" contents. Acceptance of the flavors was largely influenced by previous contact to specific flavors. Children under 1 year of age preferred the liquid consistency and elderly children favored the puree. Most mothers considered that the offered amount was enough and there was the general impression that, as the time of the intervention elapsed, children showed greater appetite. The diet was not substituted by the supplement. CONCLUSIONS. Acceptance of the supplement may be improved by messages focusing on the well-being and health of the child and insisting on the benefits for the pregnant mother. Community health providers should be involved in supporting the program, recommending consumption and acceptance of the supplement. The identification by mothers of "vitamins" as part of the supplement may be used to reinforce the concept of beneficial effects associated to micronutrient supplementation. Qualitative evaluations should be performed as part of the assessment of community-based programs.

Keywords : supplementary feeding; pregnancy; breast feeding; infant; child; preschool; Mexico.

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