Nutrient intakes, food insecurity, pregnancy weight gain and birth outcomes among Connecticut Latinas

Date of Completion

January 2007


Health Sciences, Nutrition




The primary objectives of this prospective study were to: (1) adapt and validate the U.S. Household Food Security Scale among pregnant Latinas; (2) describe nutrient intake patterns among Latina subgroups; and (3) document household food insecurity before as well as during pregnancy and examine it's influence on pregnancy weight gain and infant birth weight among pregnant Latina women living in Hartford, Connecticut. Both qualitative and quantitative methods were used to fulfill these objectives. Focus groups were conducted among pregnant Latina women to adapt the U.S. Household Food Security Scale (FSS). Data from 241 participants who participated in the prenatal baseline survey for this study was used to assess the psychometric performance of the FSS. The final adapted version of the FSS was used to assess household food insecurity before and during pregnancy. Dietary intake and meal skipping patterns during pregnancy were assessed via a 24-hour recall and meal skipping questionnaire. Pregnancy and infant outcomes were obtained at a postpartum visit as well as through medical records. Univariate and bivariate analyses were used to evaluate the relationship between (1) nutrient intakes and ethnicity and (2) household food security (independent variables) and dependent variables (gestational weight gain and birthweight). Multivariate logistic regression analyses was used to assess the associations between (1) ethnicity, frequency of fast food restaurant use, and nutrient intakes, and (2) household food insecurity, gestational weight gain and infant birthweight. ^ The results from this study indicate that (1) the adapted household food security scale is valid for the target population, (2) nutrient intake patterns vary between Puerto Rican and non-Puerto Rican Latinas, and (3) household food security status is associated with gestational weight gain and low birth weight. Findings have important implications for food security policies and nutrition education, as well as monitoring risk of adverse pregnancy and birth outcomes among Latinas. ^