Current Position Information
Family Practice Physician, Geisinger Lycoming, Montoursville, Pennsylvania
Scholarly Research Project
Title: Maternal & Child Nutrition Interventions in Rural Honduras
Authors: Gwendolyn Bodkin, MD; Kevin Long, MD, Mark Meyer, MD, Cynthia Salter, MPH PhD
Stunting rates among children in Honduras were reported at 23% for all children under 5 years old based on the United States Agency for International Development data from 2013. This pilot program implemented education and supplemental feeding program for pregnant women in the northern Honduran town of San Jose del Negrito, continuing until the child’s second birthday.
Design & Methodology:
The program provides mothers with 14 chicken eggs each week and presents educational sessions focusing on exclusive breastfeeding and feeding practices. This program evaluation used survey data collected from participants enrolled in an 18-month program. On-site clinic workers collected surveys at program start, at four months, one year after initiation, and at the final appointment when the child was 2 years old.
Forty women were enrolled, and 28 completed the program. Half of the participants were pregnant for the first time (52%). Attendance was high for all three types of sessions (76% for clinical appointments, 77% for education sessions, and 87% for egg distributions). At completion, nearly all participants (96%) correctly identified differences between breast milk and cow’s milk; and 88% correctly described when to introduce solid foods. Additionally, 52% and 85% reported eating all eggs as directed at four months and one year respectively, while 48% and 38% reported that they changed feeding practices since beginning the program. Regarding food scarcity, 71% reported having enough food to eat pre-program, while 100% reported enough food to eat post-program.
When given opportunities to learn and improve their feeding practices, women in rural Honduras consistently attended educational sessions and changed feeding practices in attempts to improve both their own health of the mother and that of their infants. Comprehensive programs like this might offer an alternative to supplemental feeding programs to reduce stunting and malnutrition worldwide.