(pp.225-247) C. Salisbury and C. Robertson ‘Do public health messages impact on knowledge, diet and lifestyle choices of women during pregnancy?’, IJFNPH, Vol. 5, No. 4, 2012

International Journal of Food, Nutrition and Public Health (IJFNPH)Cathryn Salisbury, University of Westminster, UK
Claire Robertson, University of Westminster, UK

Purpose: This paper summarises the scientific rationale supporting the need to promote healthy diet and lifestyle choices during pregnancy and describes a pilot study assessing the impact of public health messages on diet quality and lifestyle choices among a population of pregnant women.
Design/methodology/approach: 18 women (ages 21–46 years) in their second trimester of pregnancy completed an online questionnaire entitled “Your Health in Pregnancy”.
Findings: Results found that knowledge of the roles of specific nutrients important in pregnancy—folic acid 89%, iron 72%, vitamin D 78%, calcium 100%—were higher than those gained for translating knowledge into practical ‘food-based’ skills, i.e., identifying food sources of the same (folic acid 61%, iron 83%, Vitamin D 67% and calcium 94%).
Practical implications: Women are aware of public health messages during pregnancy but are inconsistent when translating knowledge into behaviour change. Encouraging positive changes requires a greater understanding of complexities of factors which influence dietary and health choices.
Keywords: Diet quality; Nutrition; Pregnancy; Nutrients; Public health messages; Physical activity; Healthcare professionals

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