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BMC Public Health. 2014 Jan 24;14:75. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-14-75.

Adherence of pregnant women to Nordic dietary guidelines in relation to postpartum weight retention: results from the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study.

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Division of Environmental Medicine, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Oslo, Norway.



Pregnancy is a major life event for women and often connected with changes in diet and lifestyle and natural gestational weight gain. However, excessive weight gain during pregnancy may lead to postpartum weight retention and add to the burden of increasing obesity prevalence. Therefore, it is of interest to examine whether adherence to nutrient recommendations or food-based guidelines is associated with postpartum weight retention 6 months after birth.


This analysis is based on data from the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa) conducted by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. Diet during the first 4-5 months of pregnancy was assessed by a food-frequency questionnaire and maternal weight before pregnancy as well as in the postpartum period was assessed by questionnaires. Two Healthy Eating Index (HEI) scores were applied to measure compliance with either the official Norwegian food-based guidelines (HEI-NFG) or the Nordic Nutrition Recommendations (HEI-NNR) during pregnancy. The considered outcome, i.e. weight retention 6 months after birth, was modelled in two ways: continuously (in kg) and categorically (risk of substantial postpartum weight retention, i.e. ≥ 5% gain to pre-pregnancy weight). Associations between the HEI-NFG and HEI-NNR score with postpartum weight retention on the continuous scale were estimated by linear regression models. Relationships of both HEI scores with the categorical outcome variable were evaluated using logistic regression.


In the continuous model without adjustment for gestational weight gain (GWG), the HEI-NFG score but not the HEI-NNR score was inversely related to postpartum weight retention. However, after additional adjustment for GWG as potential intermediate the HEI-NFG score was marginally inversely and the HEI-NNR score was inversely associated with postpartum weight retention. In the categorical model, both HEI scores were inversely related with risk of substantial postpartum weight retention, independent of adjustment for GWG.


Higher adherence to either the official Norwegian food guidelines or possibly also to Nordic Nutrition Recommendations during pregnancy appears to be associated with lower postpartum weight retention.

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