Purpose: To obtain baseline data about the food choices of pregnant adolescents, their knowledge about healthy eating, current eating habits, and how they feel they learn best.
Methods: A 22-item survey was distributed to pregnant adolescents (n = 49, ages 15–19) who attended a teen-parenting program or prenatal clinic. Descriptive statistics were used for analysis of data.
Findings: The pregnant teenagers in this study reported that healthy eating was important to them. They ate three or more meals a day, but their snacks generally consisted of unhealthy food choices. They knew about food nutrition labels but did not always use those labels to make healthy food choices. Most adolescents were interested in exercise and stated that if they had access to a gym or someone to exercise with, they would exercise more often. Study participants reported they learned best by listening to information given to them by personnel in medical offices, clinics, and at school. Adolescents responded that their mothers did most of the grocery shopping and meal preparation.
Conclusion and Implications: Nurses are ideally positioned to provide prenatal nutrition education to pregnant adolescents, and to their families as well. Comprehensive nutritional education should focus on helping adolescents increase the amount of dairy products they consume and also on assisting them to interpret nutrition labels.
Most teenagers eat poorly, yes? But do pregnant teens take their pregnancies into consideration when choosing foods to eat?
Nancy J. Wise is on the Adjunct Nursing Faculty, Harrisburg Area Community College, Lancaster Campus, Lancaster, PA, and a Doctoral Student and Graduate Assistant at Villanova University, Philadelphia, PA. She can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com
Angelina A. Arcamone is Assistant Dean and Director Undergraduate Program, Villanova University, Villanova, PA.
The authors declare no conflict of interest.