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The association of time in the US and diet during pregnancy in low-income women of Mexican descent

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This study compared nutritional intake during pregnancy among women of Mexican descent according to country of birth (US vs. Mexico) and, for Mexico-born women, according to number of years lived in the US (≤5 years, 6–10 years, ≥ 11 years). A 72-item food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) was used to assess dietary intake in 474 pregnant Mexico-born immigrants and US-born Mexican-Americans. Mexico-born women had significantly higher intakes of calories (P = 0.02), fibre (P < 0.001), vitamin A (P < 0.001), vitamin C (P = 0.03), vitamin E (P < 0.01), folate (P < 0.01), calcium (P < 0.001) and zinc (P = 0.02) from their diets than US-born women. Intakes of all nutrients except vitamin C and zinc remained significantly higher in Mexico-born women when nutrients from both diet and vitamin supplements were considered. Among Mexico-born women, increasing years of residence in the US was associated with lower intake of calories (Ptrend < 0.01), fibre (Ptrend < 0.01), folate (Ptrend = 0.03), iron (Ptrend = 0.05) and zinc (Ptrend = 0.03), although only the trend for iron remained significant when vitamin supplement sources were included. A large percentage of women had inadequate intake of vitamin E (58%), folate (61%), iron (77%) and zinc (47%) from their diets during pregnancy and these rates were higher in US-born women than Mexico-born women.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA

Publication date: March 1, 2005

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