Background Good health and wellbeing is closely associated with nutritional food intake and healthy eating habits; this awareness and practice makes for a healthy work force. Punjab, known as the food basket of India, ironically, suffers the prevalence of ‘malnutrition’. This, especially among rural women, is primarily due to lack of nutritional awareness and education. With this premise, a Basic Nutrition Curriculum Development intervention was conducted with rural women in Punjab.
Methodology The nutrition intervention involved 35 trainees pursuing beauty care and stitching training at a charitable trust (MBCT). A 10 sessions’ curriculum @2.5 hours each was delivered on a weekly basis and documented using pre and post sessions’ questionnaires (Knowledge, Attitude, Practices methodology). A Review was undertaken after three months of the completion of the intervention. Participatory activity-based pedagogy using audio-visual aids and live demonstrations were used. Select ingredients were also given to the trainees.
Results Significant post-attendance changes were observed in the trainees. They had gained awareness about basic food groups, the balanced food platter etc. Notable changes in their daily eating habits – eating at the right time, appropriate water consumption, including different food sources in diet were observed. The intervention also made the respondents rethink their assumptions based on customary beliefs and practices. Mindfulness of cooking practices and use of appropriate quantity of cooking oil was observed. Importantly, awareness about causes and symptoms of nutrition related deficiencies and appropriate foods to overcome them was also noted. The trainees also gained confidence to discuss their health problems with family. Knowledge sharing with peer group and family members was also observed as trainees used the recipe book containing dishes prepared during the training.
Way forward The aim is to advocate the Basic Nutrition Curriculum’s adoption gender-neutrally as a compulsory component in all Skill Development Programmes run by government, non-government (NGOs) and private institutions under the Punjab Skill Development Mission.
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