Background: The main purpose of this study was to explore the experience of food beliefs among mothers from Kaski district
of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal. In Nepal, there are few studies conducted based in the social sciences.
Aim: This study explores food beliefs among poor mothers related to feeding their offspring and the wider community’s view.
Materials and Methods: Participants were recruited from relevant community associations via a purposive sampling technique.
Fifty participants took part in seven focus group discussions to explore their food beliefs and the effect of how and what they feed
their children as well as related health-seeking behaviors. The thematic analysis identified six key themes:
beliefs about breastfeeding,
food beliefs, and
beliefs and cultural influences.
Results: Many participants thought that illiterate and underserved populations such as those which exist in Nepal are generally
exposed due to financial scarcity, poor knowledge and strongly rooted cultural practices, and beliefs. This study found ‘diversified
views’ as a major barrier (Figure 1) to food and health-seeking behaviours. Some groups recognised the negative effects of existing
beliefs and taboos. However, the spiritual healers highlighted the importance of linking beliefs with cultural and religious norms
and values. They showed the complex relationships between food and health-seeking behaviours and food recommendations with
financial status and the perceived cultural practices of society.
Conclusion: The results illustrate the need for policy-makers and health professionals to take into consideration the
environmental, social and cultural contexts of the mothers who are targeted for nutrition and food recommendations.
Keywords: Malnutrition; Beliefs; Taboos; Religion; Culture; Ethnicity; Poverty; South Asia