Qualitative service evaluation of interventions aimed at improving the maternal and infant nutrition of disadvantaged populations

  • Emma Jade Cessford

    Student thesis: Master's ThesisMaster of Science


    Inappropriate maternal and infant feeding practices, food choices and dietary behaviours are thought to have a major impact on morbidity in infancy, childhood and later life. Many NHS interventions have been developed to help address these issues including food skills groups aimed at women of childbearing age and antenatal and postpartum services for mothers living in deprived areas.
    To evaluate service users’, from deprived areas, perceptions of a maternal weight management programme and practical food skills interventions, a qualitative evaluation was undertaken to inform the development and delivery of future NHS services.
    A total of 48 semi-structured interviews were undertaken with service users who participated in antenatal obesity counselling or food skills or weaning skills groups. The main areas of investigation were personal experience of interventions (acceptability, barriers and opportunities, receptiveness) and perceived impact on dietary knowledge and behaviours. Recorded verbatim data were transcribed and coded by applying
    ‘Framework Analysis’.
    A number of key themes emerged from discussions with respondents, namely, receptiveness for such nutrition interventions, the importance of consistent information from approachable staff and issues regarding the duration of interventions. It was apparent that a problem existed between the translation of knowledge and skills gained in the intervention into a real-life, every day setting. With regards to the maternal obesity intervention, the findings indicate some of the teething problems of a service under development. Participants welcomed the
    Emma Jade Cessford BSc vi University of Dundee
    opportunity for supportive and continual relationships but expectations were not fully met. The findings do however suggest there is interest in this service from women not only during pregnancy but continued into the postpartum period.
    Overall, the need to develop and sustain supportive services and skills development for weight management and healthy food choices was welcomed by the target group.
    Further development of these services, along with wider public health efforts, offer considerable potential to impact on the long term health of women and children from deprived areas.
    Date of Award2012
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorAnnie Anderson (Supervisor) & Andrew Symon (Supervisor)


    • Nutrition
    • Maternal
    • Infant
    • Interventions
    • Qualitative
    • Evaluation
    • Disadvantaged

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