Adherence to the Australian dietary guidelines during pregnancy: Evidence from a national study

Lenka Malek, Wendy Umberger, Maria Makrides, Shao J. Zhou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Objective To assess dietary intake of pregnant women against the Australian Dietary Guidelines with respect to the Five Food Group recommendations and determine predictors of adherence to the recommendations. Design Cross-sectional web-based survey. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics and logistic regression. Setting Pregnant women living in Australia. A national sample was recruited using an online panel provider and a South Australian sample was recruited through the antenatal clinic of a large public maternity hospital. Subjects A total of 857 pregnant women. Results Fifty-six per cent, 29 % and less than 10 % of women met the recommendations for the fruit, dairy and other core food groups, respectively. None of the women met the recommendations for all Five Food Groups. Women who were born overseas and who were less physically active pre-pregnancy were less likely to adhere to the fruit and dairy recommendations. Women who smoked during pregnancy, were overweight pre-pregnancy and had lower household incomes were also less likely to meet the fruit recommendations; and women living in metropolitan areas were less likely to meet the vegetable recommendations. Sixty-one per cent believed their diet during this pregnancy was healthy. Conclusions The majority of pregnant women in Australia perceive their diets to be healthy yet they do not consume the recommended daily servings from the Five Food Groups. Intervention strategies are warranted, particularly those that increase women's ability to evaluate their diet and also encourage positive dietary changes. These strategies may increase adoption of dietary guidelines and optimise pregnancy and other long-term health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1155-1163
Number of pages9
JournalPublic Health Nutrition
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2016


  • Australia
  • Diet change
  • Dietary guidelines
  • Food group recommendations
  • Pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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