Health Advice



Dietary choices are linked to higher rates of preeclampsia among Latinas

Vanessa G. Sánchez, KFF Health News on

Published in Health & Fitness

The subjects, who were predominantly low-income Latinas in Los Angeles, completed two questionnaires about their diet during the third trimester of their pregnancy. The researchers identified two significant patterns of eating: one in which the most consumed foods were vegetables, oils, fruits, whole grains, and yogurt; and a second in which the women’s diet consisted primarily of solid fats, refined grains, cheese, added sugar, and processed meat.

Women who followed the first eating pattern had a lower rate of preeclampsia than those who followed the second.

When Maldonado and his team tested for a correlation between lower rates of preeclampsia and the Healthy Eating Index-2015, they found it was not statistically significant except for women who were overweight before pregnancy.

The Healthy Eating Index includes combinations of nutrients and foods, like dairy and fatty acids. Maldonado said more research is needed to determine the exact profile of fruits, vegetables, and oils that could benefit Latina women.

When it comes to diet, the right messaging and recommendations are vital to helping pregnant Latinas make informed decisions, said A. Susana Ramírez, an associate professor of public health communication at the University of California-Merced.


Ramírez has conducted studies on why healthy-eating messages, while well intended, have not been successful in Hispanic communities. She found that the messaging has led some Latinos to believe that Mexican food is unhealthier than American food.

Ramírez said we need to think about promoting diets that are relevant for a particular population. “We understand now that diet is enormously important for health, and so to the extent that any nutrition counseling is culturally consonant, that will improve health overall,” Ramírez said.


This article was produced by KFF Health News, which publishes California Healthline, an editorially independent service of the California Health Care Foundation.

©2024 KFF Health News. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


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