KNOWLEDGE AND ATTITUDE OF MATERNAL DIET AND ALLERGY AMONG BREASTFEEDING PEER COUNSELLORS IN PAHANG
The incidence of allergic diseases among children appears to have rapid increased over the last few decades. Surprisingly, the allergic diseases also occurs among exclusively breastfed infants despite the protective effect of the breastmilk is well known. There is a great interest in identifying the prevention of allergy diseases among breastfed infants. The environmental factors including maternal diet was found to influence allergic development among breastfed infants. Breastfeeding Peer Counsellors (BPC) plays an important role among breastfeeding mothers to promote breastfeeding and healthy maternal diet towards allergy prevention among breastfed infants as early as during pregnancy and breastfeeding. This study aimed to identify the level of knowledge and attitude before and after intervention regarding maternal diet and allergy among BPC in Pahang. Thus, a cross-sectional survey was conducted using validated self-administered knowledge and attitude questionnaire to 72 BPC (20-60 years) in eleven district of Pahang. The data were collected using convenient sampling method. The research results showed that BPC had good level of knowledge on maternal diet and allergy 37 (51.4%). Most of the BPC also had positive attitude towards maternal diet and allergy 32 (44.4%). However, there were no significant association between socio-demographic factors and knowledge and attitude regarding maternal diet and allergy with p-value >0.001. The result also shows a significant moderate-good correlation between knowledge and attitude (r= 0.668) and significant difference (p-value =0.001) between knowledge and attitude among BPC. The good knowledge and attitude of BPC indicated that the BPC can be one of the medium to promote good maternal diet towards allergy prevention. These findings also provides some implications that the enhancement of knowledge and attitude on maternal diet and allergy among BPC can be done in order to prevent allergy among breastfed infants.