Self–reported versus observed measures: validation of child caregiver food hygiene practices in rural Malawi

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Abstract

Few studies have attempted to measure the differences between self-reported and observed food hygiene practices in a household setting. We conducted a study to measure the level of agreement between self-reported and observed food hygiene practices among child caregivers with children under the age of five years in rural Malawi. Fifty-eight child caregivers from an intervention and 29 from a control group were recruited into the study. At the end of a nine-month food hygiene intervention, household observations were conducted followed by self-reported surveys. Overall, practices were found to be more frequently reported than observed in both groups. However, the difference between self-reports and observed practices was minimal in the intervention compared to the control group. The odds ratio results confirm that more desirable practices were observed in the intervention group compared to the control group. Despite the effects of reactivity during observations, the study results imply that the intervention group did not just improve their knowledge, but also translated the messaging into better practice. Researchers and implementing agencies in water, sanitation and hygiene and food hygiene sector should ensure that interventions are context-appropriate, and that effective methods of observation are used to confirm any reported effects of an intervention
Original languageEnglish
Article number4498
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume17
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jun 2020

Keywords

  • food hygiene
  • direct observations
  • Malawi
  • sanitation
  • water
  • hygiene interventions

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