Background/Aims: Exploration of maternal dietary pattern associations within a multi-ethnic society context has been limited. The aim of this study was to describe the dietary patterns of pregnant women from ‘Growing Up in New Zealand’, a large ethnically-diverse cohort, and to investigate associations between these patterns, ethnicity and birthplace.
Methods: 5,664 women during 2009 and 2010 completed a semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire prior to childbirth. Principal component analysis was used to describe dietary patterns, and multivariable regression analyses to determine associations.
Results: Self-prioritised maternal ethnicity was 56% European, 13% Māori, 13% Pacific, 14% Asian and 4% other ethnicities. 35% were born outside New Zealand (NZ). Four distinct dietary components were extracted: ‘Junk’ and ‘Health conscious’, both being associated with being born in NZ and not being of Asian ethnicity; ‘Traditional/White bread’ which showed no association with place of birth; and ‘Fusion/Protein’ associated with being born outside NZ and most strongly with Asian ethnicity. ‘Junk’ and the ‘Traditional/White bread’, were associated with being of Pacific or Māori ethnicity. The two healthier patterns were associated with increased maternal age, better self-rated health, lower pre-pregnancy BMI and not smoking; the two unhealthier patterns were associated with decreased age, lower education levels, and smoking.
Conclusions: A greater understanding of the influence of migration and ethnicity on dietary patterns in association with other socio-demographic factors could allow for more targeted strategies to support good nutrition during pregnancy.
Funding source(s): Ministry of Social Development, The Health Research Council and the University of Auckland.