Vegetable Consumption and Selected Nutrient Intakes of Women of Childbearing Age

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Abstract

Objective:

To examine intake of selected nutrients and vegetable consumption of women of childbearing age (WCBA) from 19–50 years of age, across race/ethnicities, and annual household incomes.

Design:

Dietary data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2009–2012 and the Food Pattern Equivalents Database 2009–2012.

Participants:

The study sample included 3,058 WCBA who were non-Hispanic white (NHW), non-Hispanic black (NHB), Mexican American (MA), and of other races/ethnicities (ORE) with annual household incomes of < $25,000, $25,000–75,000 or > $75,000.

Variables Measured:

Average daily consumption of vegetables and mean intakes of nutrients of concern from foods, including potassium (K), dietary fiber (DF), calcium, magnesium, iron, vitamin C, and folates.

Analysis:

The analysis compared mean vegetable consumption and nutrient intake from food to current recommendations across race/ethnicity and household income categories.

Results:

On average, WCBA consumed 1.43 cup equivalents/d of total vegetables and NHB WCBA consumed fewer vegetables than did NHW (P < .01), MA (P < .01), and ORE (P < .01) WCBA. Mean consumption of starchy vegetables, including white potatoes (WP), by WCBA was also below the recommended 5–6 cups of starchy vegetables per week. Average intake of K was 2,364 mg, or about half of the recommended 4,700 mg. Mean DF intake, 15.4 g, was about 60% of the recommended 25 g. In general, NHB WCBA consumed fewer vegetables than did NHW (P < 0.01), MA (P < 0.01), and ORE (P < 0.01) WCBA. On average, WCBA in households with incomes < $25,000 consumed fewer vegetables and had lower intakes of K, DF, calcium, and iron than did WCBA with household incomes > $75,000 (P < .05).

Conclusions and Implications:

These results showed that WCBA had low vegetable consumption, including starchy vegetables, compared with recommendations in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015–2020. Potassium and DF intakes were low among WCBA, but especially so for NHB WCBA and WCBA with limited financial resources. Government-sponsored food assistance programs should consider policies that encourage WCBA to consume more vegetables, including starchy vegetables, such as WP and lima beans that are rich in K and an important source of DF.

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