Research Original Research| Volume 119, ISSUE 8, P1284-1295, August 2019

Correlates of Prenatal Diet Quality in Low-Income Hispanic Women

Published:April 05, 2019DOI:



      Low-income Hispanic women are at-risk of poor prenatal diet quality. Correlates associated with prenatal diet quality in this group of women are understudied.


      The objective of this study was to examine the associations between financial, cultural, psychosocial, and lifestyle correlates and prenatal diet quality in low-income Hispanic women.


      This cross-sectional analysis used data from pregnant women enrolled in the Starting Early Trial, a randomized-controlled trial of a primary-care based child obesity prevention program beginning in pregnancy. The trial enrolled women from clinics affiliated with a large urban medical center in New York City from 2012 to 2014. Financial, cultural, psychosocial, and lifestyle variables were collected using a comprehensive baseline questionnaire. Usual dietary intakes over the past year were assessed using the Block Food Frequency Questionnaire 2005 bilingual version.


      The study enrolled low-income Hispanic women between 28 and 32 gestational weeks (N=519).

      Main outcome measures

      Prenatal diet quality was measured by the Healthy Eating Index 2015.

      Statistical analyses performed

      Unadjusted and adjusted multivariable linear regression analyses were performed to determine independent associations between financial, cultural, psychosocial, and lifestyle correlates and Healthy Eating Index 2015 total score.


      Overall prenatal diet quality was poor (mean Healthy Eating Index 2015 total score=69.0±9.4). Most women did not meet the maximum score for total vegetables (65.3%), whole grains (97.1%), dairy (74.8%), fatty acids (84.4%), refined grains (79.8%), sodium (97.5%), saturated fats (92.9%), and added sugars (66.5%). Women who reported screen time ≤2 hours/day, physical activity before and/or during pregnancy, and being born outside the United States had higher mean Healthy Eating Index 2015 total score than women with screen time >2 hours/day, no physical activity, and those born in the United States.


      Prenatal diet quality of low-income pregnant Hispanic women was suboptimal. This cross-sectional study revealed associations between cultural and lifestyle factors and prenatal diet quality in low-income Hispanic women. Longitudinal studies are needed to determine long-term influences and specific behaviors to target for effective intervention studies.


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      L. Thomas Berube is a doctoral degree candidate, Steinhardt Department of Nutrition and Food Studies, New York University, New York City.


      K. Woolf is an associate professor, Steinhardt Department of Nutrition and Food Studies, New York University, New York City.


      M. J. Messito is a clinical associate professor, Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, New York University, New York City.


      R. Gross is an assistant professor, Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, New York University, New York City.


      A. Deierlein is an assistant professor, Department of Public Health Nutrition, College of Global Public Health, New York University, New York City.