Effect of a community-based nutrition intervention program about dietary immunonutrients during COVID-19 pandemic
Keywords:Coronavirus, immunonutrition, nutrition intervention, nutrition surveys
Background: The global agitation caused by the coronavirus disease of 2019 has emerged the need to make today’s population more aware of immune health to protect against disease and illness. Thus, we conducted a community-based nutrition intervention program that puts forward immunonutrition in the limelight.
Objectives: To study the effects of a community-based nutrition intervention program on (a) the significance of immunonutrients, (b) its rich sources and (c) its role to boost immunity against viral infections and diseases among a local community in Chennai city.
Material and Methods: This study used the pretest-posttest design consisting of pre-and post-survey conducted from 400 active participants selected by the random sampling method. Pretest and posttest involved the assessment tools like the 4-point Likert scale and 7-item food frequency questionnaire. The employed intervention strategies include the distribution of informative pamphlets and offering individual nutrition counselling that highlights the benefits of consuming immunonutrients- rich foods.
Results: The mean pretest score based on the perception of participants on the importance of immunonutrients was 2.022±0.856. Significant associations between age, education level, and socioeconomic status with the perception levels of the participants were observed (P<0.001). A mean difference of 1.1200±0.0603 was observed when compared with the posttest responses conducted three months after the intervention, showing a significant increase in their perception level (P<0.001). Additionally, the consumption of immunonutrients rich foods studied using the 7-item food frequency questionnaire, also increased.
Conclusions: Our intervention program was found remarkably effective for improving the awareness and consumption level of locally available, cost-effective immune-boosting foods among the participants and their intention toward healthy eating behaviour. Thus, a community-based nutrition intervention program would help upgrade awareness about the synergism of nutrition, immunity, and infection.
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