A small financial compensation was given to participants for their involvement in SQIs. A verbal informed consent process was used with all participants, with RAs giving a copy of the consent form to the participants and signing and keeping a copy to authorize the process and consent given.
For the SQIs, only two meetings were missed due to the participants being out of town.
The ages of pregnant women and mothers involved in the FGs and SQIs ranged from 15-48 and parity from 1-10.
In terms of preferred number of children, participants in both the FGs, SQIs and questionnaires expressed an ideal number of children that was often lower than their actual number of children, for example, interview participants considered two to four children to be 'ideal,' while 60 of the 291 women ever pregnant (21%) already had five or more births.
More details of the procedures used in the selection of soil indicators and construction of the SQIs can be found in Romaniuk et al.
Once normalised, indicators were weighted and integrated to obtain the SQIs shown in Table 4.
Figure 2 shows the values of SQIs. Results provided by the SQIs showed that, regardless of the applied management, all of the studied systems decreased quality compared with the reference soil (UN).
According to results provided by SQIs, plots under horticultural production decreased soil quality compared with the reference situation, regardless of the management system applied.
However, the indicators finally included in the SQI cannot represent all of these aspects.
The aims of this work were (i) to evaluate and compare two procedures to select indicators of soil quality for the construction of SQI considering diverse chemical, physical, and biological properties; and (ii) to evaluate the role of soil microbiological properties in the construction of SQI.
Both procedures consider chemical, physical, and biochemical variables (simple SQI, SSQ1) or microbiological variables (complex SQ1, CSQI).
For the SQI constructed by procedure B, the physical, chemical, and biological indicators were given the same weights in the index.