Objective: This exploratory study sought to understand the relationship between food insecurity, socio-demographic status (SDS) and diet quality in a sample of pregnant mothers in Trinidad.
Design and Methods: This qualitative, descriptive study took place in 5 health centres of the North Central Regional Health Authority in Trinidad and Tobago. The target population was healthy expectant mothers of any age and gravida with singleton pregnancies between 12 and 20 weeks’ gestation. A convenience sample from each of the health centres was taken. Two hypotheses explored the relationship among the 3 main variables of SDS, dietary quality and food security status (ELCSA).
Results: Seventy-one percent of the mothers had unhealthy pre-pregnancy body mass index. The majority of mothers had a moderate diet quality and as well as SDS. 44% of households were food secure and 7% experienced extreme food insecurity. Households with children were less food secure and experienced more severe grades (moderate and extreme) of food insecurity as compared to households without children. Food insecurity was negatively correlated with SDS and consumption of low dietary quality foods positively correlated with SDS. Food insecurity was not statistically significant with diet quality. Multigravidity was not statistically significant with higher diet quality.
Conclusions: Contrary to previous studies using the ELCSA, a better social standing was not linked to being food insecure or a high diet quality; as SDS increased diet quality actually decreased. Multigravidity status also did not affect diet quality. Thus other factors may be influencing dietary choices for pregnant women.
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