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To examine the effectiveness of two methods of increasing fruit and fruit juice intake in pregnancy: midwives' advice and vouchers exchangeable for juice.
Pregnant women were randomly allocated to three groups: a control group, who received usual care; an advice group, given advice and leaflets promoting fruit and fruit juice consumption; and a voucher group, given vouchers exchangeable for fruit juice from a milk delivery firm. Dietary questionnaires were administered at ~16, 20 and 32 weeks of pregnancy. Serum β-carotene was measured at 16 and 32 weeks.
An antenatal clinic in a deprived area.
Pregnant women aged 17 years and over.
The study comprised 190 women. Frequency of fruit consumption declined during pregnancy in all groups, but that of fruit juice increased substantially in the voucher group. Serum β-carotene concentration increased in the voucher group, from 106.2 to 141.8 μmol l− 1 in women with measurements on both occasions (P = 0.003), decreased from 120.0 to 99.8 μmol l− 1 in the control group (P = 0.005), and was unchanged in the advice group.
Pregnant women drink more fruit juice if they receive vouchers exchangeable for juice supplied by the milk delivery service. Midwives' advice to eat more fruit has no great effect. Providing vouchers for fruit juice is a simple method of increasing its intake in a deprived population and may be useful for other sections of the community.
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