• adolescents;
  • Latin America;
  • Nicaragua;
  • nutrition education;
  • self-care deficit nursing theory

ABSTRACT Objectives: The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of a community-based nutrition education program on the nutritional knowledge, hemoglobin levels, and nutritional status of Nicaraguan adolescent girls and the nutritional knowledge of their mothers.

Theory: Self-care deficit nursing theory was used in this study.

Design: This longitudinal study used a mixed quantitative/qualitative design to study the effect of the nutrition education program.

Sample: The nonprobability sample consisted of 182 adolescent girls and 67 of their mothers. The setting for the study was a community (barrio) in Managua, Nicaragua.

Intervention/Measurement: A team of nurse and nutrition researchers created the nutrition education program designed to improve girls' and mother's nutrition-related self-care operations. Data collection was carried out for 4 years for girls and 2 years for mothers in Managua, Nicaragua, using questionnaires, a HemoCue, and anthropometric measures.

Results and Conclusion: The findings of this study were that girls' and mothers' nutritional knowledge scores significantly improved in most cases after participation in the nutrition intervention program. Girls' hemoglobin levels did not significantly improve and their nutritional status findings were mixed. Girls and mothers described what dietary changes girls made and why.