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The effect of socioeconomic status on dietary intake, physical activity and Body Mass Index in Austrian pregnant women

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Abstract Objectives 

To examine the associations of socioeconomic status (SES) with dietary intake and health related factors in pregnant women. Subjects 

A total of 261 pregnant women attending maternity clinics in Austria. Methods 

Descriptive cross-sectional survey using a self-administered questionnaire in combination with an interview to assess dietary intake (24-hour-recall). Results 

In the linear regression models, women with a higher level of education showed a higher intake of dietary fibre (P = 0.015), folate (P = 0.048), beta-carotene (P = 0.008), and calcium (P = 0.003), whereas the intake of total fat (P = 0.039) was lower. The mean reported prepregnancy Body Mass Index (BMI) of lower educated women (23.6 kg m−2) was significantly higher (p for trend = 0.018) than that of women with medium or high levels of education (21.7 and 21.6 kg m−2, respectively). The manual occupation group was more than four times less likely to engage in structured physical activity compared with the nonmanual occupation group (adjusted odds ratio for manual group = 0.23, 95% CI: 0.08; 0.87). Conclusions 

Education is a strong and independent predictor of nutrient intake and BMI in pregnant women. The use of occupation and household income in addition to education improves the description of socioeconomic inequalities in diet and health related factors.
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