Background: Rural areas of Peru lack access to healthcare resources and poor nutritional knowledge of what should be given to their children throughout their growth and development. The majority of the rural areas rely on a high carbohydrate, moderate vegetable diet, and lacking a protein source. Lower protein intake can lead to problems of malnutrition and growth stunting. Families rarely have monetary resources to provide a protein at every meal for the entire family. There is also a lack of a clean water supply, free of parasites and helminths. Caregivers often rely on replenishing intake with other fluids high in sugar. These issues create healthcare needs within the community and may go unmet.
Objectives: Identify specific educational needs for children living in rural Peru related to nutrition and health practices. The needs assessment was conducted to create identify specialized programming for children accompanying their parents at a local clinic.
Methodology: Survey analysis was conducted on caregiver responses, related to children under the age of 18 living in Peru. Institutional Review Board approval was obtained at the university in the USA and the clinic in Yantalo, Peru. Caregivers were invited to participate in the study in person or on social media. The explanation of research was distributed and placed as a top sheet prior to the survey ensuring consent. Anonymous survey completion was conducted while in the waiting room, a private office was available upon request. Electronic links were also provided via Facebook on the clinic website.
Results: Approximately 55 participants completed the Peruvian Nutritional Survey. There were 43 in-person surveys completed with an additional 13 online. Demographic data collected included: the average age of the caregiver, 34 years old, and children per household (children). The average home rarely consumed water as a beverage. The primary resource of fluids offered to children was fruit juice or evaporated milk. Two meals a day are served with a protein, one of which is eggs. The main carbohydrate varied, however; it was offered to the child at every meal. Children under the age of 12 receive immunization at the yearly checkup. There is minimal knowledge related to the purposes of the immunizations.
Discussion: Root vegetables comprise the majority of every meal. Root vegetables are readily grown in the community and are inexpensive. There is a noted lower protein intake in the rural area. Fluid intake is minimally monitored and not seen as a priority. Water is an important source of fluid especially due to the humid climate but is often contaminated with parasites (Cabada et. al, 2015). Filtered water is expensive and harder to locate in the home setting.
Conclusion: Medical attention in rural Peru is scarce and limited. The clinic offers a hub of resources for community families. The caregivers noted they access specialized care when advertised by the clinic. Pediatric well-check is provided annually until the age of 12, while older children only seek medical attention when ill. There is a lack of misinformation and lack of communication about when free healthcare is no longer provided for their children.
Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.)
College of Nursing
Garcia Medina, Chantelle, "Evaluating the Nutritional Status of Peruvian Born Children" (2020). Honors Undergraduate Theses. 708.
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