Monday, November 9, 2009

Lets face it we're not eating enough good stuff - even in pregnancy

You might be eating healthy, even healthy enough that you don't need supplements. However if you are reading this blog you are likely to be eating healthier than the general population. The general population has a poor diet.

There are many studies that show we are not eating enough healthy foods to obtain our Recommended Daily Intake/Allowance. All studies that I have read show that a large percentage of the population does not eat the RDI. In this case looking at pregnant women (bit redundant as men don't get pregnant) in South Carolina, USA. The results are shown in the graph below. Each cluster of bars is a measure of a nutrient that was measured. The hieght of the graphs is what percentage achieved either >100% of RDI, 50-10% and <50%. (Clicking on graph will enlarge it)

What this tells us is that over 50% [that is 36% who in 50-100% group added to the 25% who are getting <50% a day] of the study group is not eating 5 veges a day, and that just under 50% are not eating 4 fruit a day.

What I find very scary is that I would be counted in these lower groups. I do get 4 fruit a day when we have heaps of fruit around that we have picked ourselves or when fruit we like is on special. I know we don't eat 5 lots of veges a day. (we need more veg's at lunch)

The folate RDI is higher in pregnancy, and just under 60% don't eat enough to get the RDI and about 80% are not getting enough iron. The good news is that over 50% are getting enough calcium.

These statistics are shocking. Only about 50% of the mum's are eating enough to get the RDI. This is staggering as mum's tend to eat more healthy when they are pregnant. It raises the question about how well they eat when the are not pregnant! It is also based up the RDI, and not the optimal intake. The RDI is about stopping serious signs of deficiency. Not about having optimal life.

The sad thing is there is more and more data showing what mum eats (or doesn't) impact the baby's health long term. 

Reference: Bodnar and Siega-Riz A diet quality index for pregnancy detects variation in diet and difference by sociodemographic factors. Public Health Nutrition vol 5 no 6 pg 801-809 2002.

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