Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Parham, Ellen S.

Degree Name

M.S. (Master of Science)

Legacy Department

Department of Family, Consumer, and Nutrition Sciences


Pregnant women--Nutrition; Pregnancy--Nutritional aspects; Eating disorders; Pregnant women--Attitudes


Disordered attitudes toward eating held by pregnant women can affect the nutritional status of the mother and fetus. The first objective of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of the Eating Attitudes Test-26 (EAT-26) as a screening tool for prenatal nutritional care. The second objective was to determine whether the following factors had a significant association on the eating attitudes of pregnant women during their first prenatal visit: ethnic origin, smoking, alcohol use, drug use, history of physical or emotional abuse, age, marital status, parity, prepregnancy body mass index (BMI), first prenatal visit measured BMI, adequate protein servings, and adequate calcium servings. This retrospective study consisted of 264 pregnant women who attended a midwestem obstetrics clinic during their first prenatal visit. Data from their medical records and nutritional evaluations including the EAT-26 was used to pursue the objectives. Mean EAT-26 scores were compared among subgroups representing the various factors by the Student’s t test or one-way ANOVA followed by a Scheffe’s test. The typical participant was white, in her twenties, married, having her first child, a non-smoker, consumed alcohol, and had no history of drug use or physical or emotional abuse. Sixty-nine percent reported adequate calcium servings and 80.9% reported adequate protein servings. The mean prepregnancy BMI was 24.7 + 5.5, while the mean measured first-visit BMI was 25.6 + 5.6. The mean EAT-26 score was 5.18 ± 4.58. Six women or 2.3% scored in the abnormal eating attitudes range, while 5.3% scored in the moderate disturbance range. The EAT-26 screen did pick out women with distorted eating attitudes and weight loss issues. The mean EAT-26 scores were found to be significantly different for age, prepregnancy BMI, marital status, and abuse categories. Teenagers scored significantly higher than women in their thirties or forties. The group having prepregnancy high BMI values scored higher than the normal BMI group. Married women had lower scores than unmarried women. Women who reported having been abused scored approximately 5.5 points higher on the EAT-26. All significant differences found were between means within the normal range and, therefore, have limited clinical usefulness.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [35]-39)


v, 49 pages




Northern Illinois University

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