The Role of Aotearoa New Zealand Midwives As Positive Influencers on Food Literacy With Samoan Families: Report on a Small Auckland-Based Study
Background: Healthy eating is crucial for optimal development during all stage of life and most particularly also during pregnancy. According to Statistics New Zealand [Statistics NZ] (2019) Pasefika people made up 8.1% of the total New Zealand population. Information from the New Zealand Ministry of Health [MOH] (2019a, 2019b) suggests that Pasefika people have the highest levels of food insecurity and the highest levels of obesity. Women are more likely than men to be involved with food preparation, therefore it is important to know to what extent women are aware of what healthy eating means for themselves and their families. Aim: The study aimed to explore an understanding of food literacy among representatives of three generations of women in five Samoan families; how each of the three generations ensured that their dietary intake contributed to their quality of health; and whether knowledge about food literacy was influenced both within and between/across generations Method: The study used a combined Delphi-Talanoa approach to interview fifteen Samoan women about their understandings of food literacy. Findings: Midwives played an important role in helping pregnant Samoan women understand about healthy eating during pregnancy. Women shared what they had learned about healthy eating from their midwives with other female relatives. Learnings taken from midwives included the importance of choosing healthy foods, portion control and physical activity. Conclusion: All study participants who had received antenatal care in New Zealand mentioned the important role of midwives in increasing their understanding of healthy lifestyle choices. All women shared what they had learned from their midwives within their wider family or aiga.