Online Program

Improving adolescent girls' nutrition in Ethiopia: Formative research findings from ENGINE (Empowering New Generations in Improved Nutrition and Economic Opportunities)

Monday, November 2, 2015 : 2:30 p.m. - 2:50 p.m.

Carmen Cronin, MPH, Department of Community Health & Prevention, Drexel University School of Public Health, Philadelphia, PA
Suruchi Sood, PhD, Department of Community Health and Prevention, Drexel University School of Public Health, Philadelphia, PA
Kathryn Bertram, PhD, Center for Communication Programs, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
Jane Brown, MSH, Center for Communication Programs, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for Communication Programs, Baltimore, MD
background: Around 1.2 billion adolescents (age 10-19) make up nearly 20% of today’s global population. Yet, the needs of adolescents around the world have gone largely unmet. Nutrition programs, policies, and strategies often fail to include adolescents. In particular, there is a dearth of research on the special nutritional needs of adolescent girls in developing countries. ENGINE (Empowering New Generations in Improved Nutrition and Economic Opportunities) is an integrated nutrition program designed to improve the nutritional status of women, adolescents, and young children in Ethiopia.

objective: To understand knowledge, attitudes, self-efficacy, norms, and actions pertaining to optimal adolescent nutrition practices, in addition to barriers and motivators to such practices in order to inform the design of ENGINE. 

methods: This mixed methods study undertook 32 in-depth interviews, 16 focus group discussions, and household and market day observations in 27 households with adolescents age 15-18. Qualitative data was analyzed thematically keeping the social ecological model in mind. Univariate and bivariate analyses were utilized to examine the availability of food and food purchases.

results: Adolescent diets are not varied or balanced enough. Poverty, food inaccessibility, and gendered norms emerged as the greatest barriers to optimal nutrition. Culturally defined conceptions of nutrition, a desire to eat healthier, and trust in local health workers are some facilitating factors upon which interventions can be based.

conclusions: Programs and policies must take into account the current needs of adolescents, as well as their prospective needs so as to ensure the health and well-being of future generations. 

Learning Areas:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Communication and informatics
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe the importance of a life course perspective to address adolescent nutrition. List three barriers to adolescent girls’ nutrition in Ethiopia. Identify three facilitating factors that could be used to design a locally relevant adolescent nutrition program.

Keyword(s): Children and Adolescents, Nutrition

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: After completing a qualitative research methods course, my advisor, Dr. Suruchi Sood, provided me the opportunity to code, analyze, and interpret the adolescent girls' data from a project conducted at Johns Hopkins (Drs. Bertram and Brown) in order to put into practice skills covered in the course. I have since worked on global health projects and conducted formative research using similar participatory research methods.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.