Food Fortification Knowledge of Healthcare Providers and Barriers to its Consumption among their Attended Clients: Cross-Sectional Survey from Punjab
Keywords:Food fortification, Healthcare professionals, Nutrition
Background: Food fortification improves the nutritional value of food products and adds health benefits.
Objective: To assess knowledge of food fortification among health care professionals and barriers to its consumption among their attended Clients of Punjab province.
Methodology: This cross-sectional research design was used to evaluate food fortification knowledge and its related barriers to its consumption amongst healthcare professionals from October 2019 to March 2020. A total of 360 healthcare professionals were selected. Targeted groups include MBBS doctors, nurses, midwives, and lady healthcare workers. A self-administered close-ended questionnaire was formulated. Bar charts were constructed for the source of information regarding food fortification. Chi-Square statistic was used to test the hypothesis. For categorical variables such as knowledge about fortification and barriers to consumption, frequency percentages were calculated.
Results: Overall 121 (33.6 %) healthcare professionals were of the view that food fortification is a type of adulteration, and 214 (59.4%) supported supplements over fortified products. Unaffordability (83%), and change in appearance and taste (84%) were highlighted as top barriers in consumption of fortified foods. Change in color, appearance, or taste of fortified foods 303 (84%) and unaffordability due to high cost 302 (83.8%) were the two most highlighted barriers.
Conclusion: There are major misconceptions about food fortification among healthcare providers and multiple barriers are perceived to be prevalent among patients. Comprehensive efforts are needed to improve knowledge regarding food fortification and its related barriers. The use of educational technology can be beneficial for supporting learning and teaching healthcare professionals and food industrialists regarding food fortification.