Expectant dads' diet during pregnancy has lasting impact on future health of unborn child

5 April 2022

Associate Professor Shelley Wilkinson from UQ's School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences spoke to ABC about a new study researching whether an expectant father's diet also impacted on what his partner ate. 

"While it's known that education, income and body mass index influence how women eat in pregnancy, this study addresses the gap in knowledge in how a partner's eating habits influence mums-to-be," Associate Professor Wilkinson said.

"We found that there was an association between what the partner ate and what the mums consumed, which hasn't really been looked at before.

"Women were more likely to meet daily dietary intake recommendations when their partners also met the recommendations."

Associate Professor Wilkinson said the study showed women with a higher pre-pregnancy body mass index were far more likely to exceed the recommended maternal weight gain ranges.

Only 41.4 per cent of women met the daily fruit intake recommendations compared with 31 per cent of the men in the study.

About 28.4 per cent of the expectant mums were eating enough vegetables compared with 15 per cent of the dads, while less than one per cent of women and 20 per cent of partners complied with the recommended intake of serves for breads, cereals and grains.

"The poor diet for both the males and the females was disappointing but not a surprise because it reflected the wider Australian population," Associate Professor Wilkinson said.

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