Dietary Patterns and Nutrient Adequacy of Diets Consumed by Pregnant Women in Nsukka Area of Enugu State, Nigeria
Background: Adequate nutrition during pregnancy is essential to support fetal growth and physiological changes in the body of the mother, and had been associated with good pregnancy outcomes.
Objective: This study assessed the dietary patterns and nutrient adequacy of diets consumed by pregnant women in Nsukka Area of Enugu State, Nigeria.
Methods: The cross-sectional survey design was adopted for the study. Multistage sampling technique was used to obtain representative sample of 386 pregnant women. Food frequency questionnaire was used to collect data on respondents' dietary patterns. Nutrient intakes were assessed by 3-day weighed food intake study, and were analyzed as percentages of FAO/WHO daily nutrient requirement values for pregnant women. Descriptive statistics were carried out on data collected.
Results: Respondents consumed varied nutrient sources (mostly plant-based) which led to adequate intakes of most nutrients. However, niacin and riboflavin intakes were lower (12.2mg [72.6%] and 0.95mg [63.3%], respectively) than requirements due to low consumption of animal foods. Starchy roots/tubers made highest contribution to respondents' energy (591Kcal [23%]) and carbohydrate (124Kcal [34.7%]) intakes. Legumes contributed most to protein (35.2g [52.3%]), iron (11.2mg [41.9%]), thiamin (0.8mg
[53.3%]) and niacin (4.05mg [33.2%]) intakes. Fruits and vegetables contributed most to riboflavin (0.3mg [31.6%]), ascorbic acid (121mg [77.7%]) and calcium (317mg [33.8%]) intakes.
Conclusion: Nigerian plant-based foods, when well mixed to complement one another and with proper preparation techniques to conserve sensitive nutrients, can provide adequate amount of nutrients. Promotion of traditional dishes and proper processing technique through nutrition education of women is therefore, imperative. Again, animal foods should be made more affordable through government subsidization.
Keywords: Dietary intakes, pregnant women, Nsukka
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