Factors associated with food consumption score among pregnant women in Eastern Ethiopia: a community-based study

Meseret Belete Fite*, Abera Kenay Tura, Tesfaye Assebe Yadeta, Lemessa Oljira, Kedir Teji Roba

*Corresponding author for this work

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    Introduction: Although assessing the nutritional status of pregnant women is becoming a common research agenda, evidence on food consumption scores, particularly among rural residents, is limited. This study aimed to assess the level of food consumption score and associated factors among pregnant women in Haramaya district, eastern Ethiopia, 2021. Methods: A community-based cross-sectional study was conducted among 448 pregnant women in Haramaya district, eastern Ethiopia. Data were collected through face-to-face interviews by trained research assistants, using a validated food frequency questionnaire. Food consumption score, a proxy measure for food security, was assessed through a seven-day dietary recall of consumption of food items. Each food item was given a score of 0–7 depending on the number of days it was consumed then grouped into food groups and summed up each food group. The pregnant women were labeled as "acceptable food consumption score" when they had a food composite score of > 42 during the reference period. Otherwise, they were defined as "unacceptable." A Poisson regression model with robust variance estimation was used to investigate the association of the independent variables with the food consumption score. An adjusted prevalence ratio with a 95% confidence interval was reported to show an association using a p value < 0.05. Results: The acceptable food consumption score among the study participants was 54.46% (95% CI 49–59%). The level of acceptable food consumption score was higher among respondents who were in the richest class (APR = 1.31; 95% CI 1.04–1.66), those who had ANC follow-up (APR = 1.78; 95% CI 1.40–2.27), those who had a favorable attitude toward dietary practice (APR = 1.30; 95% CI 1.12–1.52), and those who consumed high animal source foods (APR = 1.28; 95% CI 1.01–1.51). However, acceptable food consumption score was lower among women who were not owned agricultural land (APR = 0.84; 95% CI 0.72–0.99). Conclusion: We found a low acceptable food consumption score among pregnant women in this predominantly rural setting. Nutritional counseling in pregnancy should address the importance of food diversity and consumption of animal source foods to improve nutrition in pregnancy. Our findings highlight the imperative requirement for policies and programs to support farmers who had no farmland to improve their overall food security and maximize their food consumption score. Assessing perinatal outcomes associated with food consumption score is essential for unraveling the spectrum of nutrition in pregnancy and beyond.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number6
    Number of pages9
    JournalJournal of Health, Population and Nutrition
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Dec-2022


    • Ethiopia
    • Food consumption score
    • Pregnant women
    • Prevalence

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