G Kochar, A Khetarpal
G Kochar, A Khetarpal. Promoting A Healthy Diet Through Counseling In Women Professionals. The Internet Journal of Nutrition and Wellness. 2005 Volume 2 Number 2.
Health and nutritional status of an individual depends on the food they eat. The components of the diet must be chosen judiciously to provide all the nutrients needed in adequate amounts and proportions. A normal balanced diet must include daily foods from the various food groups in sufficient amounts to meet the needs of an individual. 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. The counseling used as an intervention in this study was imparted to enhance the knowledge of the respondents about consumption of a balanced diet and to make their diet nutritionally adequate. The historical findings show that the female's intake of nutritious diet is comparatively less than that of males.
Females are more prone to diseases than males (Kaur, 2002). Eating disorders are very painful responses to stress and other destructive factors in a woman's life (Radcliffe, 2002). Many women tend to eat more under increased pressure due to release of the hormone cortisol. They chose more sweet foods during periods of stress (Kelly
Women with deficiencies of folic acid and other B-vitamins are at an increased risk of cardio-vascular diseases (Stoney, 1999) . Wertheim
Objectives Of The Study
The objectives of the present study are as follows:
To assess the nutritional status and dietary patterns of the working women.
To impart counseling for maintaining adequate nutritional status and improve the dietary patterns of the working women.
To evaluate the impact of counseling on the nutritional status and dietary patterns of the professional women.
Sampling Technique And Selection Of Samples
A number of 150 women professionals in the age group 25-55 years were selected from various professions. They were from different income groups. Their marital status could be single/married/divorced/widows. The places selected for conducting the present study were cities of Yamunanagar, Jagadhri, Kurukshetra, Chandigarh and Panchkula. 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. Based on the objectives of the study, the Standardized Questionnaire was distributed. It was administered to the respondents before counseling and then again three months after counseling.
They involve obtaining physical measurements of an individual and relating them to the standards that reflect the growth and development of an individual. These measurements are used to find the nutritional status of a person .In the present study, the anthropometric measurements used were:
Grading of B.M.I was done by the Normogram for determining B.M.I (Wyngaarden, 1992, cited in SriLaxmi, 2002)
Overweight & Obese >24
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. After nutritional counseling, the respondents were contacted after three months and a 24-hour dietary recall was again done for one week to find out the changes in their dietary pattern. The amounts of food eaten were noted using standardized spoons, glasses and
b)The mean daily intake of nutrients like energy, proteins, carbohydrates, fats, fibre, calcium, iron, zinc, ?-carotene, Vitamin C, Thiamine, Riboflavin and Niacin was calculated with the help of Food composition tables and compared to the I.C.M.R recommended R.D.A values for adult women (Gopalan et al, 2002) . The mean daily intake of different food groups like cereals, pulses, milk and milk products, vegetables, fruits, fats, oils, sugar and jaggery was also calculated. Three months after counseling and distribution of the handout, the questionnaire was again distributed among the respondents. This was done to judge the role of nutritional counseling in making the meals balanced.
Statistical Analysis Of The Data
The analysis of the data was done with the help of a number of tests as Percentage, Arithmetic Mean, Standard deviation, t- test, Chi square (?2) and Karl Pearson's correlation coefficient.
Results And Discussion
Figure 1 and 2 show the dietary patterns of women professionals before and after counseling. The diet was unbalanced before counseling but improved little after counseling for three months.
Figure 3 and 4 show the mean intake of different food groups by women professionals.Before counseling the intake of cereals, pulses, fats, oils, sugar was more but after counseling, the diet became more balanced with the respondents taking more of vegetables, fruits, milk and milk products and less of cereals, pulses, fats, oils and sugar.
Table 1 and 2 show the mean food and nutrient intake of women professionals before and after nutritional counseling with reference to the Recommended Dietary Allowances (R.D.A).
Table 3 shows the Anthropometric measurements of the women professionals by comparing the mean observed weight before and after counseling. Most of the respondents had normal weight. Few who were underweight or overweight increased or reduced their weight by a few kilos during the span of study. The respondents who had normal weight , were under less stress and had better mean coping strategies , which improved further after counseling. Respondents who were overweight had higher mean stress score and lower coping scores.
Nutritional counseling is an important primary intervention, which should provide the woman with the basis for action in choosing the appropriate diet for herself and her family. The consumer would more easily understand the guidance and counseling in terms of foods if more familiar language were used. The major problem to be faced is the quantification of the advice. It is necessary that when counseling is imparted in terms of food, the relative proportions of different foods within the dietary mixture should be specified. There are a variety of dietary interventions that can relieve or help prevent particular types of stressful responses. Eating well, drinking lots of water, consuming fresh fruit, vegetables boosts energy and water helps the body to function properly. Sugars give quick energy but would be later replaced by a shortage of energy. Higher levels of education appear to be associated with a healthier dietary pattern in relation to chronic diseases. Women with higher education level had lower mean body mass index (B.M.I).