Pitt research finds women have poor diets before pregnancy
March 17, 2017 - A wide range of women have poor diets in the months leading up to their first pregnancy, according to research published Friday and led by the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. Their food choices, with too many empty calories and too few nutrients, fell far short of national dietary guidelines set to reduce the risk of premature birth, restricted fetal growth, preeclampsia and maternal obesity.
Although none of the women reached the dietary goals, black, Hispanic and less-educated women had a poorer diet than white women and those with college degrees, according to the study, published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
“One of the most concerning aspects of the results for me is that one-third of calories from their diets was solid fats and sugars,” said nutritional epidemiologist Lisa Bodnar, the lead author.
“The recommendation is [no more than] 9 to 13 percent empty calories. These women were consuming three times the recommended amount,” Ms. Bodnar said.
The study analyzed the results of questionnaires filled out by 7,511 women in eight U.S. medical centers. They reported on what they ate and drank during the three months around conception. Non-Hispanic white women made up 69 percent of the group; 18 percent were Hispanic and 13 percent were non-Hispanic black women. In education, those with high school or less made up 18 percent of the group; some college, 29 percent; college graduate, 30 percent; and graduate degree, 24 percent.
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