Food Science Universe (FSU)

Diet Diversity Among Pregnant Women

The concept of dietary diversity has been considered very important because this concept has gained worldwide attention regarding adequacy in different nutrients. Nutrient adequacy among the population is the most valuable tool to access and recover all micronutrient deficiencies. In order to fulfill nutrient adequacy, variety in the diet must be included in our daily routine because any one food cannot provide all nutrients. Therefore, variety in daily consuming foods looks very attractive and compulsory in assuring nutrient adequacy. 


A balanced diet is necessary for all individuals’ especially pregnant women if both the optimal health of the mother and acceptable birth outcomes are concerned. Maternal nutrition appears to play a crucial role in influencing fetal growth and birth outcomes growth [WHO, 2002 & 2006]. Poor maternal nutrition, both before and during pregnancy, is associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes including intrauterine growth restriction, which greatly increases the risk of neonatal deaths [Ashworth, 1998], low birth weight (LBW), preterm birth (PTB), and stunting [Christian et al., 2013]. Most of the studies that investigated the association between maternal nutrition and birth outcomes have approached the issues by assessing the effect of single nutrients in isolation [Abu-Saad & Fraser, 2010]. A major limitation of this approach is the fact that multiple nutrient deficiencies are more likely to occur than single deficiencies especially in socio-economically deprived populations [Roseboom et al., 2006]. Thus, improving the dietary pattern and nutritional status both before and during pregnancy can play a major role in preventing anemia, intrauterine growth restriction, and the associated short- and long-term adverse effects [Longo et al., 2013; Labadarios et al., 2011]. Dietary diversification has been recommended as one of the best strategies to ensure adequate nutrient intake. Hoddinott & Yohannes, [2002] have argued comprehensively that more food groups included in a person’s daily diet, then the greater the chances of meeting nutrient requirements. So, most of the studies revealed that the diversity in the diet is related to the adequacy of nutrient intake.

         Dietary diversity scores can be a measure of micronutrient diet adequacy of women [Arimond et al., 2010; Ruel et al., 2002]. Dietary diversity can be defined as the number of different foods or groups of food consumed over a period of time, most often in a day or in a week [Zainal et al., 2012]. According to Zainal-Badari et al. [FAO, 2008], adequate nutrient intake necessary for good nutrition has been associated with food variety and diet quality of individuals. In developing countries like ours’ country, the major public health problem is micronutrient deficiencies due to overconsumption of starchy foods. These deficiencies are recovered by adding diversity to the diet.


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