Published Papers - Abstract 318

Hure A, Young A, Smith R & Collins C. Is diet quality higher during pregnancy? , 2007; : A43-A44

Background: Data on the foods and beverages Australian women consume during pregnancy is lacking due to poor representation in National Nutrition Surveys and the shortage of dietary data collected in large epidemiological studies.Aim: To investigate the diet quality of young Australian women according to pregnancy status, defined as: pregnant, actively trying to conceive, given birth in the previous 12 months, or other/non-pregnant.Methods: Data collected in 2003 from a nationally representative cross-section of 9,118 women aged 25 to 30 years, who participated in Survey 3 of the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health, were analysed. Diet quality was calculated according to the Australian Recommended Food Score (ARFS) methodology, which generates a summative score based on responses to the Dietary Questionnaire for Epidemiological Studies (1). The maximum ARFS is 72.Results: A statistically higher mean ARFS was detected for pregnant women and those reporting a birth in the previous 12 months compared to other/non-pregnant women (respective means (95% CI): 29.5 (28.8-30.2); 29.5 (28.9-30.1); 28.4 (28.2-28.7)). The mean ARFS for those trying to conceive and all other groups did not differ.Conclusions: The large number of subjects within each group provided substantial power to detect even small differences, and yet only minor variations in the nutritional intake of pregnant women compared to their non-pregnant controls were observed. This suggests that Australian women make little adjustment to their diets when pregnant, although recent research indicates that nutrition in pregnancy can influence the timing of birth and the future health of the offspring.(1) Collins C, Hodge A, Young A. Are you what you eat? Associations between diet quality and health utilisation in mid-aged women from the Australian Longitudinal Study of Women's Health. 23rd National DAA Conference, Perth, 2005.