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To determine adherence to nutritional guidelines by pregnant women in New Zealand and maternal characteristics associated with adherence.
A cohort of the pregnant women enrolled into New Zealand’s new birth cohort study, Growing Up in New Zealand.
Women residing within a North Island region of New Zealand, where one-third of the national population lives.
Pregnant women (n 5664) were interviewed during 2009–2010. An FFQ was administered during the face-to-face interview.
The recommended daily number of servings of vegetables and fruit (≥6) were met by 25 % of the women; of breads and cereals (≥6) by 26 %; of milk and milk products (≥3) by 58 %; and of lean meat, meat alternatives and eggs (≥2) by 21 %. One in four women did not meet the recommendations for any food group. Only 3 % met all four food group recommendations. Although adherence to recommendation for the vegetables/fruit group did not vary by ethnicity (P=0·38), it did vary for the breads/cereals, milk/milk products and meat/eggs groups (all P<0·001). Adherence to recommendations for the vegetables/fruit group was higher among older women (P=0·001); for the breads/cereals group was higher for women with previous children (P<0·001) and from lower-income households (P<0·001); and for the meat/eggs group was higher for women with previous children (P=0·003) and from lower-income households (P=0·004).
Most pregnant women in New Zealand do not adhere to nutritional guidelines in pregnancy, with only 3 % meeting the recommendations for all four food groups. Adherence varies more so with ethnicity than with other sociodemographic characteristics.
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