Omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids are beneficial throughout the human life cycle. With regard to early child development, maternal fatty acid status influence cognitive and psychomotor development of the unborn child. Regardless of their importance in early childhood development they still receive less attention when compared to other nutrients. This paper aimed to assess knowledge, practices and intention to consume omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids among pregnant and breastfeeding women in Morogoro Municipality and the study adopted the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB). A cross-sectional survey which involved 318 randomly selected pregnant and breastfeeding women was conducted in three wards of Morogoro Municipality. Data were collected through face to face interview using a questionnaire. Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 20 was used for data analysis. Knowledge, Attitude and Practices (KAP) Scores were compared with demographic characteristics by Analysis of variance (ANOVA) with the level of significance set at p<0.05. The findings revealed limited knowledge on omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. However most of the participants showed positive attitude towards omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acid food sources and they intended to use them in the future if they are properly trained. Level of education had a significant influence on respondents’ knowledge (p = 0.003) and attitudes (p = 0.004). It was concluded that, any attempt to increase consumption of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids among pregnant and breastfeeding women in Tanzania have to pay attention on their knowledge, attitudes and beliefs.
Key words: Omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, knowledge, attitude, intention, pregnant women, breastfeeding women.
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