maternal nutrition; nutrition disparities; pregnancy; WIC; food and nutrient intake


Health Services Research | International and Community Nutrition | Maternal and Child Health | Race and Ethnicity | Women's Health


In an exploratory study, a convenience sample of 148 pregnant women was recruited from a WIC clinic in the southeast region of the U.S. to: 1) Examine and compare daily nutrient and food group intakes of WIC pregnant women to national guidelines, and; 2) Determine racial/ethnic differences in nutrient and food group intakes among WIC pregnant women. Women were selected for the study if they were: ≥ 18 y, in 2nd trimester of pregnancy, and if they spoke English or Spanish as a first language. Upon recruitment, participants were interviewed to collect information on their socio-demographics, including race/ethnicity. Additionally, 24-h diet recalls were conducted to collect information on average nutrient and food groups intakes of participants during pregnancy. Of the total participants, more than half self-identified as African American (59%), while the remaining reported being Hispanic (20%) and non-Hispanic White (22%). For nutrient intakes, women consumed folate, iron, and potassium below recommended amounts. In contrast, sodium was consumed above the recommendations for pregnancy. For food groups, intake of fruits and whole grains was limited. In comparison by race/ethnicity, specifically it was found that African American women were consuming higher amounts of carbohydrates, but lower amounts of potassium, vitamin A, and fiber in reference to non-minority group of non-Hispanic Whites. While, Hispanic women were consuming lower amounts of added sugar and animal protein than non-Hispanic Whites. Findings highlight the importance of prenatal nutrition education programs and interventions to improve dietary habits of low-income, racial/ethnic minority women. Inter-racial and ethnic differences exist in dietary intake patterns among low-income pregnant women, with African American women being at an increased risk for poor dietary habits and inability to meet nutrient requirements for pregnancy.