Dietary Intake and Omega-3 DHA Status in Pregnant Women Who Are Overweight

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To estimate dietary intake of pregnant women who are overweight, assess their omega-3 docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) status, and compare results between Black and White women.


Cross-sectional study with a longitudinal component (dietary assessment).


Outpatient clinics at Woman's Hospital, Baton Rouge, Louisiana and telephone calls.


Pregnant women (N = 21) who were overweight (body mass index = 25.0–29.9 kg/m2).


Repeated 24-hour dietary recalls using the University of Minnesota Nutrition Data System for Research were conducted to determine nutrient intakes. Red blood cell fatty acids were analyzed with gas chromatography to determine omega-3 DHA status. Descriptive statistics, one- and two-sample t tests, Fisher's exact tests, chi-square test, and analysis of covariance were used to analyze data.


On average, participants consumed 72 ± 63 mg omega-3 DHA/day. Age, race, and socioeconomic status did not affect the probability of achieving recommended omega-3 DHA dietary intake (p > .05). Black women had lower omega-3 DHA status (7.98 ± 0.94 weight percentage) than White women (9.29 ± 1.68 weight percentage; p ≤ .05).


Analysis of our data suggests a need for nutrition education regarding the benefits of omega-3 DHA consumption during pregnancy for women of childbearing age. The current finding warrants further exploration.

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