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The development and pilot evaluation of a nutrition education intervention programme for pregnant teenage women (food for life)

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Abstract Background 

A healthy diet in pregnancy is important for both maternal and infant health but this may be difficult to achieve particularly for groups such as teenage pregnant women, many of whom are from disadvantaged backgrounds. To our knowledge this is the first report of a practical nutrition education programme for this group in the UK. Method 

An intervention was designed incorporating seven informal food preparation sessions, which allowed opportunities for discussion of nutritional, and other topics (e.g. food safety and well-being in pregnancy). Midwives in a community centre setting led the sessions.

The acceptability of the package to participants and midwives was recorded and pre- and post-intervention data collected on sociodemographic details, dietary intake (using an eating-habits questionnaire and a 24-h dietary recall) and cooking skills. Results 

The midwives found the package easy to follow and use. The 16 (of the 120 invited) women who attended found the courses helpful but objective evaluation of dietary intake was not possible because of poor compliance. Conclusions 

The nutrition education programme was favourably received by midwives and the women who participated. However recruitment was problematic and alternative methods of delivering and evaluating such a package should be investigated.

Keywords: cooking skills; food; nutrition; pregnancy; teenagers

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Centre for Public Health Nutrition Research, Department of Medicine, Ninewells Medical School, University of Dundee, Dundee, UK; 2: School of Nursing and Midwifery, Ninewells Medical School, University of Dundee, Dundee, UK

Publication date: April 1, 2003


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