July 17, 2012
Breastfeeding mums are better fruit and vegetable eaters than those not breastfeeding
A study published in Nutrition & Dietetics has shown that breastfeeding mothers eat more vegetables and a greater vareity of fruits and vegetables than non breastfeeding mothers. However breast feeding mothers consume more non core sweet snack foods.
The study compared the diets of breastfeeding vs non breastfeeding mothers across various Melbourne suburbs which differed in socioeconomic status. Mothers are important role models for their children and have a central role in determining what their child eats. Mothers eating habits can therefore influence a child's food preferences, long term health and weight status.
529 mothers were involved in the study. Breast feeding status was determined when their child was 3.9 months of age. Mothers were asked to fill in a food frequency questionnaire about what they ate in the previous 12 months. Diet was assessed by average daily fruit and vegetable intake, variety of fruit and vegetable intake, non food core sweet and savoury snacks and non food core drinks.
The study found:-
- 70% of mothers were breastfeeding at 3.9 months
- Breast feeding mothers ate 1.7 times more varieties of fruits and 2.4 times more varieties of vegetables than non breastfeeding mothers
- Only 7% of mothers met the recommended intake of 5 serves of vegetables, while 57.7% met the daily fruit recommendation of 2 serves of fruit daily. On average mothers consumed 3 serves of fruit and 3 serves of vegetables daily.
- All mothers consumed non core drinks, and non core sweet and savoury snacks but breastfeeding mothers consumed more non core sweet snacks
- Mothers living in higher socioeconomic areas consumed more fruit and vegetable serves and ate more varieties of fruit
The study provides some insight into maternal diets and how they may impact on their child's diet particularly with regard to fruit and vegetable intake and non core snack intake. Mothers who eat fewer vegetables are more likely to also offer fewer and less varietyvegetables and less variety of vegtetables than those mothers who eat more. This could impact on their child's future nutrient and energy intake and weight status.
Leslie DA et al. Breastfeeding mothers consume more vegetables and a greater variety of fruits and vegetables than non- breastfeeding peers: The influence of socioeconomic position. Nutrition & Dietetics 2012;69:84-90
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