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J Am Diet Assoc. 2010 Feb;110(2):274-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jada.2009.10.038.

Diet quality as measured by the healthy eating index and the association with lipid profile in low-income women in early postpartum.

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  • 1Department of Nutritional Sciences, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712, USA.


Early postpartum is a critical period that may initiate consumption of an unhealthful diet, which can lead to obesity and adverse lipid profiles. The Healthy Eating Index 2005 (HEI 2005) is a tool that assesses diet quality in terms of adherence to the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Previous versions of HEI have shown to be associated with serum lipids. The aim of this research is to evaluate the diet quality of women in early postpartum using the HEI 2005 and to examine the relationship of index scores with serum lipids and anthropometrics. A convenience sample of 125 multiethnic, overweight/obese women in early postpartum was recruited from urban clinics from June 2004 through April 2007. Dietary intake was measured via the average of a 24-hour dietary recall and 2-day food intake records. The HEI 2005 scores were computed to assess diet quality and were compared to anthropometrics and serum lipids. Descriptive statistics, analysis of covariance, and linear regression were utilized. This sample had low mean scores in fruits, total vegetables, whole grains, and oil components. Conversely, participants consumed more than recommended amounts of sodium, saturated fats, and discretionary calories. The HEI 2005 scores inversely predicted body mass index and low-density lipoprotein and total cholesterol, and positively predicted high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Low-income women in early postpartum exhibited poor diet quality, as indicated by low total index scores. Further studies are warranted to identify appropriate dietary modifications in this population and to confirm the association of diet quality, as assessed by this HEI 2005 index, with lipids and other markers of health.

Copyright 2010 American Dietetic Association. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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