Participatory Action Research for Positive Change

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Healthy Nutrition for Pregnant Women

Healthy maternal nutrition is very important both for child health and the pregnant woman. However, adherence to dietary guidelines is limited in pregnant women, especially for those with a low socio-economic status (SES). Promotion of healthy diet in midwifery practise is promising as midwives are their first and most important source of information. Pregnant women are aware of the importance of healthy nutrition and are open to dietary changes. Unfortunately, nutrition communication by Dutch midwives is currently limited. The Participatory Action Research aims to optimize dietary intake of low SES women by contributing to (further) development/adjustment of a tool to support midwives.

This Participatory Action Research is part of a running study of Wageningen University, Chair group Health and Society. The following four questions need to be answered:

    1. What individual (e.g. food preferences, information seeking behaviours), interpersonal and sociocultural (e.g. family, social networks and social media) factors drive low SES pregnant women’s dietary intake?
    2. What does current midwives’ knowledge and practice look like, and what resources do they need to improve pregnant women’s dietary intake
    3. What adequate and feasible tools to improve low SES pregnant women’s dietary intake are available or should be developed?
    4. Based on the results of question 1-3: What existing tool can be used/adapted or what new tool should be developed
    5. After implementation of the tool(s)? What are the barriers and facilitating factors that play a role in the implementation of the tool?


Project name Healthy Nutrition for Pregnant Women
Start date February 2019
Duration Three months
Status Finished
Country The Netherlands
Action Researcher Rianne Hoopman
Coordinator Madelon Eelderink
Number of action researchers 1

Each Participatory Action Research starts from a community issue, addressed by its problem owners at location. As such, we make sure the action research is based on local demand rather than donor demand. Together with these local stakeholders, we design the action research in a way that fits the local context, from the problem framing up to methodology and concept definitions.

Problem Definition
Main Research Question
Sub Questions
“Low social economic status”, “tools”, “healthy nutrition”, “dietary intake”

Each PAR-project delivers direct outcomes for the local community on the addressed issue: we can share how many people have been reached, what their perspective is on the current and desired situation and what final Community Action Plan (CAP) they have co-created and implemented. In a later stage, local stakeholders will evaluate the impact of the CAP.

Co-created solution

To be determined after the action research



Madelon Eelderink

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Rianne Hoopman

Action Researcher
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Sustainable Development Goals

Sustainable Development Goal 3



The final report will be uploaded after finishing this PAR.