Public Health Nutrition

Special Groups

Nutrient and food intakes differ among Latina subgroups during pregnancy

Amber Hromi-Fiedlera1a2 c1, Angela Bermúdez-Millána2a3, Sofia Segura-Péreza2a3 and Rafael Pérez-Escamillaa1a2

a1 Office of Community Health, Yale School of Public Health, Yale University, 135 College Street, Suite 200, New Haven, CT 06510, USA

a2 Connecticut Center for Eliminating Health Disparities among Latinos, Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT, USA

a3 Hispanic Health Council, Hartford, CT, USA


Objective To document nutrient and food group serving intakes from food sources among Latina subgroups living in the same geographical area.

Design A cross-sectional study. Nutrient and food group serving intakes were assessed by means of a 24 h recall administered immediately after a prenatal survey.

Setting Hartford, CT, USA.

Subjects A total of 233 low-income pregnant Latinas. For analyses, Latinas were classified into two groups on the basis of self-reported ethnic identity: Puerto Ricans and non-Puerto Rican Latinas.

Results Puerto Rican Latinas were more likely than non-Puerto Rican Latinas to be more acculturated and to consume foods (i.e. processed meat, cheese, soft drinks) and higher levels of nutrients (i.e. fat, SFA, MUFA, trans fatty acids) that have been implicated in the development of chronic diseases. By contrast, non-Puerto Rican Latinas were more likely to consume foods (i.e. fruits, dark green/yellow vegetables, tomatoes, non-starchy vegetables) and higher levels of nutrients (i.e. fibre, vegetable protein, folate, β-carotene) that promote health when compared with Puerto Rican Latinas.

Conclusions Findings suggest that acculturation may play a role in dietary intake. Clinicians and dietitians need to be aware of these differences to encourage healthy eating patterns among more acculturated pregnant Latina clients.

(Received November 19 2010)

(Accepted April 01 2011)

(Online publication June 23 2011)


c1 Corresponding author: Email