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Nutrition knowledge of caregivers working in health and education centers for children with special healthcare needs


1 Department of Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics, College of Health Sciences, University of Sharjah, Sharjah 27272, United Arab Emirates; Nuffield Department of Women’s & Reproductive Health, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 2JD, UK
2 Department of Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics, College of Health Sciences, University of Sharjah, Sharjah 27272, United Arab Emirates
3 Department of Nutrition and Health, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, United Arab Emirates University, Al Ain 15551, United Arab Emirates
4 Department of Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics, College of Health Sciences, University of Sharjah, Sharjah 27272, United Arab Emirates; Department of Nutrition and Food Technology, Faculty of Agriculture, Jordan University of Science and Technology, Irbid 22110, Jordan

Correspondence Address:
Leila Cheikh Ismail,
Department of Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics, College of Health Sciences, University of Sharjah, Sharjah 27272
UK
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/abhs.abhs_26_22

Background: Children with special healthcare needs are recognized as a high-risk group for malnutrition. Caregivers have a strong influence on the dietary habits of their students, therefore, adequate nutrition knowledge among caregivers and educators has a great potential in improving the health of children. The purpose of this study is to assess the level of nutrition knowledge and demographic influences of knowledge among caregivers working in health and education centers. Methods: a cross-sectional, web-based survey was conducted among educators and caregivers working at Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services to assess their nutritional knowledge using a modified validated general nutrition knowledge questionnaire. Results: 233 participants completed the survey. The basic recommendations about reducing the intake of sugary, salty, and fatty foods and consuming more water and vegetables were best acknowledged. However, an inadequate level of knowledge was identified regarding specified number portion. For instance, more than half of the participants were aware of the need to consume more vegetables and fruits while only 10% knew the minimum number of servings to consume in a day. The overall nutrition knowledge score was adequate at 46.30 (55.1%). Caregivers with nutrition qualifications and who have four children had a significantly higher knowledge score. Older age was associated with better diet-disease relationship knowledge. Conclusions: The level of nutrition knowledge among caregivers and health workers was insufficient. However, periodic nutrition education reinforcement among health caregivers should be considered.


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    -  Cheikh Ismail L
    -  Abu Qiyas S
    -  Mohamad MN
    -  Osaili TM
    -  Obaid RR
    -  Saleh ST
    -  Kassem H
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