Dietary adequacy, variety and diversity and associated factors (anthropometry and socio-economic status) in pregnant women attending the Bishop Lavis MOU in Cape Town

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

Aim: The aim of this study was to determine the adequacy of the dietary intake of pregnant women attending Bishop Lavis MOU, in the Tygerberg area of Cape Town. Methods: One hundred and fifty-two women between 12 and 20 weeks' gestational age participating in the Main PASS study were recruited. They completed three interviewer-administered 24-hour dietary recall assessments on three different days, each approximately two weeks apart. Dietary reference values for adequate nutritional intake during pregnancy and the South African food based dietary guidelines and NARs and MAR were used to assess the nutritional adequacy. Anthropometric and socio-demographic information was also collected. Results: The results indicate that just over a quarter of the sample were classified as teenage pregnancies. The majority had between grades eight and ten, and had a monthly household income between R500 and R5000. With a mean energy intake of 10 168.4kJ, majority (79.5%) of the study sample did not meet the energy DRI. Close to half (42.8 %) of the study sample did not meet the DRI for protein intake. All participants met the carbohydrate EAR, and many exceeded the recommended fat intake. The intake of sugar and saturated fats exceeded recommendations with sugar contributing to almost half of the total energy from carbohydrates. The intakes of vitamin A, D and E, pantothenate, biotin, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and manganese fell below the recommendations. Sugar was the most commonly consumed food item, followed by potato, chicken, milk, and white bread. Apples were the most commonly consumed fruit. When compared to the FBDG, the study sample consumed double the recommended portions of starch, half the recommended daily fruit and vegetables, and half the recommended legumes. Conclusion: The high intake of refined carbohydrates, especially sugar, and the high intake of foods high in saturated fats needs to be addressed. Micronutrient intake is generally poor, especially with nutrients that are vital to proper growth and development of the foetus. Education on appropriate dietary changes, as well as suggestions to make implementation of such changes affordable would be invaluable, and may contribute towards decreasing the incidence of adverse pregnancy outcomes.

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