Ferrer C, Garcia-Esteban R, Mendez M, Romieu I, Torrent M, Sunyer J. Social determinants of dietary patterns during pregnancy. Gac Sanit. 2009 Jan;23(1):38-43. doi: 10.1016/j.gaceta.2008.05.004

OBJECTIVES: To identify dietary patterns in pregnancy and describe their relationship with sociodemographic factors, smoking, and body mass index. As a secondary objective, intakes were evaluated relative to current dietary recommendations for pregnant women.

METHODS: Cross-sectional assessment of dietary intakes in 473 pregnant women from the Island of Menorca (Spain) was performed. Dietary patterns were identified using a principal components analysis, and dietary quality was assessed by comparing food group intakes with recommended intakes in pregnancy.

Two dietary patterns were identified, one characterized by high intakes of energy-dense foods and low intakes of fruits and vegetables (<<caloric>>), and the other by high intakes of vegetables, legumes, fish, meat, rice and pasta (<<healthy>>). Scores for the caloric pattern were higher in immigrants, smokers, parous women and women with only primary school education (p<0,05). Scores for the healthy pattern were higher in women originally from other parts of Spain and immigrants (p<0,05). No associations were found with the remaining variables. Adherence to dietary recommendations was high for fruit, meat and especially dairy products, while intakes of vegetables, cereals and legumes were only one-third of recommended levels.

CONCLUSIONS: Dietary patterns during pregnancy were similar to previously reported patterns in the general population, showing consistent associations with sociodemographic factors and smoking. There were substantial deficiencies in intakes of cereals, legumes and vegetables in all women, suggesting the need for educational interventions and monitoring during prenatal care to improve the quality of dietary habits during pregnancy.

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