Adherence to Canada's Food Guide Recommendations during Pregnancy: Nutritional Epidemiology and Public Health

Megan Jarman, Rhonda C Bell, Kara Nerenberg, Paula J Robson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: In Canada, pregnant women are typically referred to Canada's Food Guide (CFG), a set of national dietary recommendations designed to promote adequate nutrient intake. Pregnant women are also advised to gain weight within the Institute of Medicine guidelines, which differ by prepregnancy body mass index (BMI). However, CFG recommendations do not account for prepregnancy BMI and provide no guidance on "less healthy" (LH) foods. Objective: The aim of this study was to score women's diets according to adherence to CFG recommendations and consumption of LH foods and to examine differences between these diet scores by prepregnancy BMI. Methods: Participants enrolled in the APrON (Alberta Pregnancy Outcomes and Nutrition) prospective cohort study completed a 24-h recall in their second trimester (n = 1630). A score was created on the basis of each daily dietary CFG recommendation met, ranging from 0 to 9. The distribution of consumption (grams per day) of 8 LH food groups was given a score of 0 (none) or 1, 2, or 3 (representing the lowest, middle, or highest tertiles, respectively) and summed giving a total LH score of 0-24. Results: There were few differences in CFG recommendations met by prepregnancy BMI status, although fewer women who were overweight or obese prepregnancy met the specific recommendation to consume 7-8 servings of fruit or vegetables/d than did those who were under- or normal weight (47% and 41% compared with 50% and 54%, respectively). Although differences were small, women who were obese prepregnancy had lower CFG scores (β = -0.28; 95% CI:-0.53, -0.02) and higher LH scores (β = 0.45; 95% CI: 0.04, 0.86) than did those who were normal weight. Conclusion: The study results suggest that more attention may need to be paid to individualized counseling on dietary recommendations that take account of prepregnancy BMI.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere000356
JournalCurrent nutrition reports
Issue number7
Early online date19 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2017

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Copyright © 2017, Jarman et al.
This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the CCBY-NC License, which permits noncommercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


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