Introduction: Dietary intake is a significant contributor in determining body composition; body fat content may vary as a result in women within the same BMI category. The aim was to investigate dietary intakes of young New Zealand European (NZE) women with different body composition profiles (BCP).
Methods: Post-menarche, pre-menopausal NZE women (16-45 years) (n=231) completed a validated 220-item, self-administrated, semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) assessing dietary intake over the previous month. Body mass index (BMI, kg/m2) was calculated from height and weight; body fat percentage (BF%) was measured using air displacement plethysmography (BodPod). Participants were categorised into three BCPs: normal BMI (18.5-24.9 kg/m2), normal BF% (<30%)(NN); normal BMI, high BF% (≥30%)(NH); high BMI (≥25 kg/m2), high BF% (HH). Micronutrient and macronutrient intakes were examined.
Results: Insufficient intakes of multiple nutrients were observed for many women (vitamin D, 55%; iron, 82%; calcium, 28.5%; folate, 48%; fibre, 28%). Percentage of energy intake was outside the acceptable macronutrient distribution range (AMDR) for carbohydrate (below the AMDR, mean±SD 41.9±7%) and saturated fat (above the AMDR, 13.9±3.5%). Fewer serves of fruit and vegetables and more of diet soft drinks, chocolate bars and cooking oil were consumed by the HH BCP; they also had lowest calcium (1159.5mg/d) and highest energy (9296kJ/d), total (89.4g/d) and saturated (36.5g/d) fat intakes. No significant associations were found with BF%. Vitamins A, E, D, and zinc intakes were adequate, and comparable between BCPs.
Conclusion: Pre-menopausal NZE women are at risk of nutritional deficiencies (iron, vitamin D, folate, calcium, dietary fibre) due to poor intakes, irrespective of body fatness. On average, NZE women do not follow dietary guidelines; consuming diets low in carbohydrates and high in saturated fat. Targeted interventions should be developed to improve NZE women’s dietary quality, particularly reducing energy and fat intakes of those with excess adiposity.