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Pregnant women failing to follow dietary guidelines

Despite describing their diet as “healthy”, pregnant women are failing to adhere to recommended dietary guidelines, according to a recent study.

Research from the University of Adelaide showed that pregnant women were  incorrectly following the Australian Dietary Guidelines regarding the five food groups, however almost two-thirds believed they were eating the correct diet.

The study, conducted by Dr Lenka Malek for her PhD and published in the journal Public Health Nutrition, surveyed the dietary habits of more than 850 pregnant women from across Australia.

“The results are rather alarming – we were expecting to see at least some pregnant women correctly following the guidelines across all food groups, but there were none,” says Dr Malek via the University of Adelaide.

According to the university, the research showed that only 56% of pregnant women consumed the daily recommendation of fruit, 29% consumed enough dairy, and less than 10% ate the recommended levels of other food groups: vegetables, grains and lean meats.

“One of our main concerns is that 61% of pregnant women thought they were eating a healthy and balanced diet,” Dr Malek says.

“If pregnant women already believe they are consuming a healthy and balanced diet they may not make changes to improve their eating habits. These results help to illustrate the need for greater awareness of what is considered to be a healthy diet, and a need for intervention programs aimed at helping pregnant women to meet the guidelines.”

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