PLoS One 2013 12;8(9):e73486. Epub 2013 Sep 12.
Department of Nutrition and Health, College of Food and Agriculture, United Arab Emirates University, Al Ain, UAE.
Background: Diet therapy is the cornerstone for the management of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). Carbohydrate is the primary nutrient affecting postprandial blood glucose levels. Hence, knowledge of food containing carbohydrates can assist women with GDM optimize glycemic control. Despite that, there is a paucity of research on carbohydrate-related knowledge of women with GDM. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has one of the highest prevalence of diabetes (19.2%) in the world. This study compared diet and knowledge of carbohydrate-containing foods among pregnant women with and without GDM in the UAE.
Methods: The sample consisted of multi-ethnic women with GDM (n = 94) and a control group of healthy pregnant women (n = 90) attending prenatal clinics in three hospitals in Al Ain, UAE. Data were collected using a questionnaire and a 24-hour recall. Knowledge of food sources of carbohydrate, dietary patterns, and nutrient intakes of the two groups were compared.
Results: There were no significant differences in the mean knowledge score of food sources of carbohydrate between women with GDM and that of pregnant women without GDM. Similarly, there were no significant differences in energy and nutrient intakes between the two groups with the exception of percent energy from protein. Women with GDM reported significantly lower intake of fruits and fruit juices (P = 0.012) and higher consumption of milk and yogurt (P = 0.004) compared to that of women without GDM. Twenty-two percent of women with GDM indicated they never visited a dietitian for counseling while 65% reported they visited a dietitian only once or twice during the pregnancy. Predictors of carbohydrate knowledge score were perceived knowledge of diet and GDM and parity among women with GDM and parity and educational level among those without GDM.
Conclusion: The results of the study highlight the urgent need to provide nutrition education for women with GDM in the UAE.