Nutritional Patterns of Pregnant Adolescents
Adolescent pregnancy is a worldwide health problem. It has been considered as a major health problem to pregnant women and their newly born babies especially in developing countries to the extent that it received considerable attention. Objective: To assess nutritional patterns of pregnant adolescents in Aswan City. Settings: Ten Maternal and Child Health (M.C.H) centers in Aswan city were randomly chosen from the available 36 M.C.H centers, affiliated to the Ministry of Health. Subjects: A convenience sample of 300 pregnant adolescents aged 15-21 years was selected from the previous settings, (30 from each MCH center). Tool: Adolescent pregnant women nutritional patterns structured interview schedule was developed by the researcher. It entailed the following parts: Part one: Socio- demographic and reproductive history. Part two: Nutritional patterns structured interview schedule that comprised: a. Knowledge about nutrition and elements of balanced diet. b. Factors affecting study subject's choice of food. c. Knowledge about risks of malnutrition. d. Nutritional behaviors or habits of pregnant adolescents. Results: A poor total score regarding knowledge about nutrition and elements of balanced diet was obtained by 58.0 % of the study subjects. Regarding factors that affect choice of food, nearly two thirds (63.3%) of the study subjects’ husbands were responsible for buying food. Choosing food was the responsibility of wives among 57.3% of the study subjects More than two- thirds of the study subjects always had fresh fruits, vegetables and dairy products at home both. Regarding knowledge about risks of malnutrition. Less than two- thirds (65.0%) and slightly more than one third (34.0%) of the study subjects gained poor and fair total score grade (respectively). On the other hand, the vast majority (94.3%) of the study subjects gained good total score of nutritional habits. Conclusion: It was concluded that the majority of the study subjects gained good nutritional habits in spite of their poor knowledge. Many adolescents have poor diet quality and lack knowledge about the appropriate nutrition. As a result, engaging in unhealthy dietary practices. Recommendations: Improving the nutritional status of adolescent girls before and during pregnancy is recommended through providing necessary knowledge about the good eating habits and nutritional requirements. Enforce mass media should provide nutritional education programs to adolescents about importance of nutrition and risks of malnutrition especially for pregnant adolescents.