Published: 2019-06-28

Perception and knowledge regarding under-nutrition in children among anganwadi workers: a qualitative study in Berhampur of Ganjam district, Odisha

Monali Kar, Sangeeta Das, Sanjaya Sahoo, Sithun K. Patro, Shrabani Palai, Biswakaiyan Mishra, Durga M. Satapathy


Background: Anganwadi centres (AWCs) remain hub for promoting nutrition in children. For an effective functioning of programs, Anganwadi workers (AWWs) need to have a sound knowledge and perception regarding under-nutrition. A qualitative study (Focus Group Discussion) was conducted with aim to assess perceptions and knowledge of AWWs regarding under-nutrition in 6 domains like about term under-nutrition in children, its causes, identification of it, its community management, advices to be given to parents and knowledge of program related to under-nutrition in their locality.

Methods: 2 Focus group discussions (each consisted of 12 members and took around 40-45 minutes) were conducted in December 2018 among AWWs of Berhampur through purposive sampling. One author played role of facilitator who carried out discussions, another acted as recorder who took notes and sociograms were recorded by another author. Audio-visual recordings were done. Data were analysed and a report was created based on grounded theory.

Results: Participants had fair knowledge of term under-nutrition. They had good knowledge of causes of under-nutrition in children and knew how to identify. But none of them had proper knowledge of community management of malnutrition (CMAM) in children. Though most of them have knowledge of screening of malnourished children and referral to Nutritional rehabilitation centre, they were unaware of other key components of CMAM. Many AWWs didn’t know much about programs for combating malnutrition; however they were well acquainted with ICDS and VHND.

Conclusions: Quality training programs and more sensitisation should be done for Anganwadi workers. Specific training on CMAM should be carried out for them. 


Qualitative study, Malnutrition, Anganwadi centre, Focus group discussion, Grounded theory, CMAM

Full Text:



America IL. Levels and trends in child malnutrition. WHO. 2018:1-16.

Malnutrition in Children - UNICEF data. Available at: malnutrition/. Accessed on 12 December 2018.

Fao. The Future of Food and Agriculture: Trends and Challenges. Available at: publications. Accessed 4 January 2019.

Nouuishing India. Available at: in/writereaddata/files/document_publication/Nutrition_Strategy_Booklet.pdf. Accessed 4 January 2019.

Community management of acute malnutrition in under-five, Samhita Social Ventures, Atlanta Centre, Sonawala Cross Road, Mumbai.

Towards Integrated Management of Malnutrition : NCPCR Interventions Aug 2012 ‐ Oct 2013, National Commission For Protection Of Child Rights.

Mahto H. The perceptions of Anganwadi workers and mothers of the importance of nutritional care of children during the first 3 years of life : A study of Jharkhand, Haldhar Mahto Student Number- 3002934 Supervisor : Ms Lungiswa Tsolekile Co-Supervisor : Prof Than. 2015.

Davey S, Davey A, Adhish V, Bagga R. Impact of perceptions of key stakeholders in combating undernourishment among rural children in Delhi : A qualitative study. J Health Res Rev. 2015;2(1):11-8.

Dongre AR, Deshmukh P, Garg BS. Perceived Responsibilities of Anganwadi Workers and Malnutrition in Rural Wardha. 2008.

Parikh P, Sharma K. Knowledge & perceptions of icds anganwadi workers with reference to promotion of community based complementary feeding. National J Community Med. 2011;2(3):457-64.