Background: The number of immigrants from China has increased significantly over recent years. Pregnant Chinese women in New Zealand may face a number of barriers in following nutrition recommendations.
Aims: To assess nutrition attitudes and practices of pregnant Chinese immigrants in New Zealand.
Methods: 84 pregnant Chinese women living in New Zealand were recruited via Chinese community websites and organisations. Information on eating habits, attitudes towards NZ and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) nutrition recommendations, and acculturation was collected using an online questionnaire.
Results: The majority of participants had a positive attitude towards NZ nutrition recommendations for pregnant women, but reported consuming fewer than the recommended serves from food groups. The majority of women reported taking folic acid supplements at least 5 days/week (77%), but less than half took iodine supplements (40%) or iodine rich foods (17%) as often. Most had positive attitudes towards TCM recommended dietary practices for general health, e.g. adjusting diet to body composition (70%), but most (>70%) seldom consumed foods with TCM features specifically recommended for pregnancy. More acculturated women had more positive attitudes towards both NZ and TCM nutrition recommendations and were more likely to consume recommended serves from foods groups.
Conclusions: Attention needs to be paid to pregnant recent Chinese migrants to help them meet recommended serves from food groups and ensure they understand the need for iodine and iodine supplements in New Zealand. Health professionals should be familiar with general TCM dietary recommendations.
Funding Source: Institute of Food, Nutrition & Human Health, Massey University