The validity of maternal perceptions on child’s nutrition status: An alternative to growth monitoring method during COVID-19 crisis
Objective: The purpose of this study were 1) to test the usability of maternal perceptions as method to determine child’s nutrition status and 2) to estimate the preliminary validity of the maternal perceptions questionnaires.
Method: A diagnostic test with cross-sectional design among 80 mother and child dyads within the sampling frame of the Sleman Health and Demographic Surveillance System (HDSS Sleman). The maternal perception were assessed using a verbal and visual questionnaire. All anthropometric measurements were conducted by trained community health workers using standardized technique and calibrated tools. Statistical analyses were performed to cross-tabulate child’s nutrition status (Weight/Height) with maternal perceptions. We tested the data for sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, negative predictive value, and ROC curve.
Results: Most mothers could accurately determine child’s nutrition status using both verbal and visual questionnaires, with 82.5% and 85% respectively. The verbal method has higher sensitivity and negative predictive value than the visual questionnaire. Both questionnaires have similar positive predictive value, yet the specificity was higher in the visual technique The ROC curves of verbal and visual methods were 0,605 and 0,527.
Conclusions: Our study found that mothers are generally able to utilize both the verbal and visual questionnaires. Despite the usability of the instruments, the data indicates mothers’ inability to perceive malnutrition in children. It stands to reason that the anthropometric measurements remain the best method to determine nutrition status in children, monitor growth and detect nutrition problems. It is also worth noting that intervention is needed to help promote an accurate perception of children healthy weight among mothers.