A Khetarpal, G Kochar
health, morbidity, nutritional status, well-being
A Khetarpal, G Kochar. Health And Well-Being Of Rural Women. The Internet Journal of Nutrition and Wellness. 2006 Volume 3 Number 1.
Diet and nutrition are important factors in the promotion and maintenance of good health throughout the life cycle. Income, prices, individual preferences and beliefs, cultural traditions, as well as geographical, environmental, social and economic factors all interact in a complex manner to shape dietary consumption patterns and affect the morbidity and clinical status of women. A normal balanced diet must include daily foods from the various food groups in sufficient amounts to meet the needs of an individual and to increase immunity. The present study is undertaken to study the Health and Well-being of Rural women. For the purpose of study, 75 women between the age-group 25-45 years who were moderate workers, were selected from rural areas of district Yamunanagar, (Haryana). The mean daily intake of nutrients was calculated by using the Food Composition Tables and was compared with the Recommended Dietary Allowances for adult women (I.C.M.R,1990).The analysis of the data showed that only 10 per cent of the studied women were consuming a balanced diet. Majority of the women were suffering from anaemia and complained of backache, head ache and pain in the body. A balanced diet ensures nutritional adequacy, increases food acceptability, adds variety and also increases the resistance to various diseases.
Diet and nutrition are important factors in the promotion and maintenance of good health throughout the life cycle. A normal balanced diet must include daily foods from the various food groups in sufficient amounts to meet the needs of an individual. Health and nutritional status of an individual depends on the food she eats. The components of the diet must be chosen judiciously to provide all the nutrients needed in adequate amounts and proportions. Foodstuffs selected from each group should take into account the income, socio-cultural factors, availability and nutritional requirements. Selection of foods from the different food groups also results in variety in the diet, which not only ensures nutritional adequacy but also increases food acceptability. It was reported by
To study the dietary habits of the rural women and compare their intake with the Recommended Dietary Allowance.
To examine the morbidity and clinical status among rural women.
Locale of the study
A number of 75 women in the age group 25-45 years were selected from various villages of district Yamunanagar. Their marital status could be single or married.
Purposive sampling was used to select the respondents. In some cases the respondents had to be convinced to actively participate in the research work. A meeting was arranged with the selected respondents to confirm their participation in the study. Women selected for this study were assured of absolute anonymity. The survey method was used to gather information for the study. A well-structured interview schedule was developed considering the specific objectives of the study.Seventy-five women respondents were interviewed randomly and the data was analyzed.
Dietary survey was carried out in the following steps with the help of a questionnaire:
a) Assessment of food consumption by 24-hour recall method: The respondents were asked to recall all the foods eaten during the reference time period and describe the foods consumed. The amounts of food eaten were noted using standardized spoons, glasses and plates for measurement of the foodstuffs.
b) The mean daily intake of nutrients like energy, proteins, carbohydrates, fats, fibre, calcium, iron, β-carotene, Vitamin C, Thiamine, Riboflavin and Niacin was calculated with the help of Food composition tables and compared with the R.D.A values for adult women (Gopalan et al, 2002).
Morbidity and clinical status
Morbidity symptoms of the women and information regarding the illness suffered by them since past two months was noted down. All the women were clinically examined and the presence or absence of the clinical deficiency symptoms was recorded.
Results and Discussion
Table 1 and 2 show the mean food group and nutrient intake of rural women with reference to the Recommended Dietary Allowances (R.D.A).
Table 3 and 4 show the common illnesses and nutritional deficiencies in rural women.The physical well being of an individual is related closely to her status of nutrition. Furnishing adequate food to a well functioning body assures good nutrition. On the other hand, poor nutrition results from an inadequate food intake or a failure of the body to use efficiently the nutrients supplied to it. The illness reported among the women in the study were backache, headache, pain in legs and hands and pain in the abdomen (Table-3). This may be due to considerable workload for women who spend 10-11 hours at working in fields, continue doing their work at home also and consume less food.
Table 4 shows the prevalence of nutritional deficiencies among women. The table reveals that 60% of them had anemia as they consumed inadequate amounts of iron, B complex vitamins and vitamin C. 40% of the subjects had poor eyesight and 10 % had goiter. Eating well, consuming fresh fruits and vegetables boosts energy and drinking lots of water helps the body to function properly.
Nutritional deficiencies that have a major impact on economic growth are protein calorie malnutrition and deficiencies of iron, vitamin A and iodine. This may not be true for urban populations in India, who have rising incomes and greater access to a diverse and varied diet. The results of this study reveal the status of nutritional deficiency in rural Indian villages. The study calls for an all-out effort on the part of researchers, policy makers and extension workers in popularizing the beneficial effects of a balanced diet containing more vegetables and fruits which will ensure nutritional security to the rural population. There are a variety of dietary interventions that can relieve or help prevent particular types of diseases. It has been found that a diet, which contains liberal quantities of seeds, nuts, grains, vegetables and fruits would provide an adequate amount of all the essential nutrients. Each of these food groups should roughly form the bulk of one of the three meals. These three basic health-building foods should be supplemented with certain special foods such as milk, vegetable oils and honey. Vegetables, fruits, whole grains, complex carbohydrates will help to maintain desirable weight. Limit the intake of refined sugar, salt and alcohol. Try to drink 8-10 glasses of water a day. Avoid foods high in sodium, saturated fat and cholesterol. Eating is one of life's greatest pleasures. Since there are many foods and many ways to build a healthy diet and lifestyle, there is lots of room for choice.
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