Dietary patterns in pregnancy and effects on nutrient intake in the mid-south: The conditions affecting neurocognitive development and learning in early childhood (CANDLE) study

Eszter Völgyi, Kecia N. Carroll, Marion E. Hare, Karen Ringwald-Smith, Chandrika Piyathilake, Wonsuk Yoo, Frances A. Tylavsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

29 Scopus citations


Dietary patterns are sensitive to differences across socio-economic strata or cultural habits and may impact programing of diseases in later life. The purpose of this study was to identify distinct dietary patterns during pregnancy in the Mid-South using factor analysis. Furthermore, we aimed to analyze the differences in the food groups and in macro- and micronutrients among the different food patterns. The study was a cross-sectional analysis of 1155 pregnant women (mean age 26.5 ± 5.4 years; 62% African American, 35% Caucasian, 3% Other; and pre-pregnancy BMI 27.6 ± 7.5 kg/m2). Using food frequency questionnaire data collected from participants in the Conditions Affecting Neurocognitive Development and Learning in Early Childhood (CANDLE) study between 16 and 28 weeks of gestation, dietary patterns were identified using factor analysis. Three major dietary patterns, namely, Healthy, Processed, and US Southern were identified among pregnant women from the Mid-South. Further analysis of the three main patterns revealed four mixed dietary patterns, i.e., Healthy-Processed, Healthy-US Southern, Processed-US Southern, and overall Mixed. These dietary patterns were different (p < 0.001) from each other in almost all the food items, macro- and micro nutrients and aligned across socioeconomic and racial groups. Our study describes unique dietary patterns in the Mid-South, consumed by a cohort of women enrolled in a prospective study examining the association of maternal nutritional factors during pregnancy that are known to affect brain and cognitive development by age 3.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1511-1530
Number of pages20
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 3 2013
Externally publishedYes



  • Food frequency questionnaire
  • Mixed dietary patterns
  • Nutrient intake
  • Pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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