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Energy and nutrient intakes and health practices of Latinas and white non-Latinas in the 3 months before pregnancy

OBJECTIVE: To describe the health practices and energy and nutrient intakes from diet and supplements of foreign- and US-born Latinas and white non-Latinas in the 3 months before pregnancy. DESIGN: A descriptive study in which data were obtained retrospectively from 2 questionnaires: an interviewer-administered questionnaire on the subject’s medical, reproductive, family, occupational, and lifestyle history and a subject-administered (and interviewer-assisted) 100-item food frequency questionnaire. SUBJECTS/SETTING: A population-based sample of California women (n = 462) who gave birth between 1989 and 1991 to single, live-born infants. One third of women were Latinas, of whom 58.1% were foreign born. STATISTICAL ANALYSES: Means, standard deviations, and percentiles were computed for energy and nutrient intakes of the total population and for white non-Latinas; US-born Latinas; and foreign-born Latinas. One-way analysis of variance was used to compare group means. RESULTS: Mean and median energy intake in all ethnic groups exceeded 2,000 kcal/day, although less than half of the population consumed 5 servings of fruit and vegetables per day. For iron, half of the women were below the Recommended Dietary Allowance. In contrast to the dietary intake of white non-Latinas and US-born Latinas, foreign-born Latinas had the lowest contribution of fat to total energy intake and the highest dietary intake of carbohydrate, cholesterol, fiber, grain products, protein foods, folate, vitamin C, iron, and zinc. CONCLUSIONS: A woman’s ethnicity, as well as whether her place of birth was within or outside of the United States, may be predictors of her dietary and health practices before pregnancy. Vitamin, mineral, and food supplementation and consumption of cold breakfast cereal may be avenues for improving perinatal micronutrient intake.

Authors: Schaffer DM; Velie EM; Shaw GM; Todoroff KP

J Am Diet Assoc. 1998 Aug;98(8):876-84.

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