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Title:Characterization of nutrition knowledge, attitudes, and practices amongst agricultural extension agents and their beneficiaries in the dry corridor of Honduras
Author(s):Lotton, Jennifer Lynn
Advisor(s):Andrade, Juan
Contributor(s):Arthur, Anna; Grigsby-Toussaint, Diana
Department / Program:Food Science & Human Nutrition
Discipline:Food Science & Human Nutrition
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree:M.S.
Genre:Thesis
Subject(s):Agricultural Extension Services
Nutrition Education
Honduras
Abstract:BACKGROUND: Sixty-six percent of Hondurans live in poverty and 14% suffer from undernutrition. This disproportionately affects rural inhabitants, such as those living in the Dry Corridor of Honduras. Agricultural extension agents are lifelines for rural farming communities, offering knowledge and resources to support agricultural productivity. Integration of nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive programs into agricultural extension services (AES) has shown some prior success to improve nutrition indicators for beneficiaries. However, the success of integration presupposes that AES beneficiaries and agents have the knowledge, drive, and capacity to take on this integrated approach. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was 1) to characterize what people involved with AES (beneficiaries and extension agents) know, think, and do in relation to nutrition in the Dry Corridor of Honduras and 2) to examine the potential to integrate nutrition topics into AES via extension agent capacities. METHODS: A convenience sample of beneficiary farmers (n=86) were surveyed in-person, in-home in rural Honduras. A convenience sample of extension agents (n=62) self-selected to complete surveys via online Qualtrics platform or written format. Surveys include: demographics, coping strategies index (CSI), housing quality score (HQS), Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire (MSQ), nutrition KAP (constructs: dietary guidelines, iron deficiency anemia, vitamin A deficiency, overweight/obesity, hygiene, water sanitation), and household dietary diversity (HDDS). RESULTS: Most AES beneficiaries (86%) reported primary school as their highest level of education, while the majority of AES agents (>78%) earned at least a high school diploma. Beneficiaries largely suffered moderate to severe food insecurity (75.6%) yet most homes had formal flooring (88.4%), a durable roof (65.1%), and access to electricity (95.3%). Agents had good satisfaction with their work, with highest satisfaction intrinsically sourced. Awareness of the Honduran dietary guidelines and vitamin A deficiency was sub-optimal among agents and beneficiaries, with <70% of the population having heard of these constructs (p<0.05; p>0.05, respectively). Awareness of iron deficiency anemia was moderate among agents and beneficiaries (p>0.05); however, knowledge was suboptimal for both groups. Fewer beneficiaries were aware of overweight/obesity compared to agents (p<0.001). However, those beneficiaries who had heard of overweight and obesity showed higher knowledge than agents (p<0.001). Nutrition practices showed evidence of the nutrition transition, with beneficiaries having poorer practices pertaining to iron and vitamin A deficiency and agents having poorer practices pertaining to the dietary guidelines and overweight and obesity. HDDS was lower for beneficiaries than extension agents (8.7± 1.7 versus 10.4 ± 1.1; p<0.001), with major discrepancies in meat, dairy, and egg consumption (p<0.001 for all). No awareness questions were posed for the hygiene or water sanitation constructs. Beneficiaries and agents both scored >95% for hygienic knowledge but only about 70% in water sanitation (p>0.05). Hygiene and sanitation practices were optimal amongst both groups. Beneficiaries and agents shared variable nutrition attitudes across all measures. No differences in awareness, knowledge, attitudes, or practices were found amongst different agency groups (p>0.05). CONCLUSION: Urgent nutrition education is needed for both beneficiary and extension agent populations, especially in the areas of the dietary guidelines of Honduras, iron deficiency anemia, and vitamin A deficiency. Nutrition topics pertaining to overweight and obesity are also advocated to combat the nutrition transition that Honduras is currently undertaking. Prioritizing targeted nutrition education for agents would potentiate their capacity to disseminate this information to beneficiaries. A train-the-trainer may be a viable option for this endeavor.
Issue Date:2018-04-24
Type:Text
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/101269
Rights Information:Copyright 2018 Jennifer Lotton
Date Available in IDEALS:2018-09-04
2020-09-05
Date Deposited:2018-05


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