Women s perception about food properties in a tertiary care hospital

Document Type



Family Medicine


Objective: To understand the existing food beliefs regarding hot, cold and badi (gas-producing) properties of different food items and also to assess whether there is any relationship with education of women and these beliefs.Design: A cross-sectional study.PLACE AND DURATION OF STUDY: Community Health Center (CHC), The Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi from July to September 2000.SUBJECTS AND Methods: Four hundred adult female respondents, who came to CHC as a patient or as an attendant, were interviewed after taking verbal consent. A self-administered pre-coded and pre-tested questionnaire was filled by the respondent. Descriptive frequencies and cross tabulation were computed to assess the existing food beliefs. Chi-square test was used to assess the association between education level of women and belief regarding these food items.Results: More than three-fourth of respondents were literate. The percentages of respondents saying that certain foods were hot, cold and badi were 71%, 55% and 80% respectively. Meat, either beef or mutton, fish, egg, chicken, was perceived as hot by majority of the respondents. Majority of vegetables was perceived as cold foods in our study. The other foods like rice, yogurt, banana, watermelon, milk and cold drink were also thought to be cold by many of the respondents. Cabbage, cauliflower, potato, rice, gram and mash pulses (chane and mash-ki-dal) were highly rated as badi foods. Level of education of women didn t show any statistically significant difference in keeping beliefs regarding hot, cold and badi properties of food items.CONCLUSION: A significant concept of different properties of food exists in our culture. We recommend future studies to explore scientific basis for classifying hot, cold or badi foods and also to look into its impact on health by their restriction based on their beliefs.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Journal of the College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan