Article Text

Maternal comprehension of two growth monitoring charts in Sri Lanka


OBJECTIVE To investigate the maternal comprehension of two different growth charts and to identify the group of mothers with poor comprehension.

DESIGN An experimental prospective study.

SETTING A child welfare clinic at the De Soysa Hospital for Women, Colombo, Sri Lanka.

SUBJECTS 932 mothers were studied regarding their interpretation of the type of growth chart their infants had been allocated. A total of 413 mothers interpreted the ‘road-to-health’ chart and 519 mothers interpreted the revised chart. A validated scoring system was used to assess comprehension. The two groups of mothers were comparable.

RESULTS 62.4% (324) mothers who interpreted the revised chart had good comprehension. Only 20.6% (85) mothers had similar comprehension with the road-to-health chart. Education up to or beyond grade 8 in school significantly improved comprehension.

CONCLUSION The design of the growth chart has a powerful effect on maternal comprehension of growth patterns. Length of schooling rather than literacy alone is a marker of a comprehending mother. The policy implications of these findings are that governments and agencies may need to redesign parent held growth charts to achieve better comprehension by mothers.

  • maternal comprehension
  • growth monitoring charts
  • nutrition

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