Food habits in pregnancy and its association with gestational diabetes mellitus: results from a prospective cohort study in public hospitals of urban India

R. Deepa, Melissa Glenda Lewis, Onno C. P. Van Schayck, Giridhara R. Babu*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Background Few studies have explored the relationship between food habits and the risk of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) in women from India. We aimed to investigate the associations of food habits and the risk of GDM. Methods As part of the MAASTHI prospective cohort study in urban Bengaluru, India, pregnant women between 18 and 45 years, less than 36 weeks of gestation were included. During baseline, the participant's age, education, physical activity levels, and food habits were recorded. Screening of GDM was done by the World Health Organization diagnostic criteria using a 2-h 75-g oral glucose tolerance test between the 24th-36th weeks of gestation. Results We included 1777 pregnant women in the study. We show that 17.6% of the women had GDM, of which 76.7% consume red meat. Red meat consumption was associated with an increased risk of GDM (aRR = 2.1, 95% CI 1.5, 2.9) after adjusting for age, family history of diabetes and socioeconomic status. Conclusion The high intake of red meat consumption in pregnancy needs further examination. Also, future evaluations should consider evaluating the risk of red meat consumption against the combined effect of inadequate consumption of vegetables, fruits, and dairy products in pregnant women. Interventions to educate women in lower socioeconomic status on inexpensive, seasonal, and healthy food might be helpful.

Original languageEnglish
Article number63
Number of pages9
JournalBMC Nutrition
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 19 Nov 2020


  • Gestational diabetes
  • Diet
  • Red meat
  • Pregnancy
  • India
  • FAT
  • MEAT

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