Self-reported feeding advice by physicians for common childhood illnesses

S. Q. Nizami, Z. A. Bhutta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Background: A nutritious diet is important for recovery during illnesses. Dietary advice by physicians and consumption of food by the patients are often based upon their hot and cold concepts and beliefs about various foods rather than on scientific basis. Objectives: To look at the food-advising behaviour of physicians during illnesses and to know the maternal concepts about various foods being hot or cold. Methods: A questionnaire was served to the physicians participating in a continuous medical education session held at the Aga Khan University and Hospital, asking them to write the foods they advise or restrict during different illnesses such as fever, jaundice etc. Mothers of sick children suffering from diarrhea and other illnesses were also interviewed to know their concepts about various foods. Results: Six (10%) out of sixty physicians believed in hot and cold concepts of the food. A variety of common foods were either restricted or strongly recommended by 10% to 50% of these physicians without any scientific basis, 23% physicians restricted fatty foods in jaundice, 17% physicians restricted in cough and cold. Although the interviewed mothers believed in hot-cold concepts of food but 55-63% of them were not sure what is meant by hot or cold food. In spite of that 70-80% of these mothers classified chicken, meat, egg, brinjal, masoor and mangoes are hot foods and rice, yogurt, moong, banana and orange as cold foods. Conclusion: Hot-Cold concept of food exists not only in mothers but also in physicians. Proper education regarding food intake is mandatory for both mothers and physicians to ascertain adequate intake of calories during sickness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)298-301
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the Pakistan Medical Association
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1999


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