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Diet quality, nutrient intakes and biochemical status of New Zealand women of childbearing age according to alcohol consumption patterns

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 February 2020

Sherly Parackal
Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, Dunedin School of Medicine, University of Otago, PO Box 56, Dunedin, New Zealand
Claire Smith
Department of Women’s & Children’s Health, Dunedin School of Medicine, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
Paula Skidmore
Department of Human Nutrition, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand



To investigate associations between alcohol consumption patterns and diet quality, nutrient intakes and biochemical profile of women of childbearing age.


Nutrient intake data from 24 h diet recalls, alcohol consumption data and diet quality from the Dietary Habits Questionnaire, and biochemical analyses from the cross-sectional 2008/09 Adult Nutrition Survey in New Zealand.


New Zealand households.


New Zealand women aged 18–45 years (n 1124).


All analyses were completed using Stata and survey weights were used to allow for the complex survey design to produce population estimates. Multinomial logistic regression models were used to examine the associations between drinking patterns and the variables of interest, with ‘infrequent moderate/light’ drinkers being the reference category. The findings indicate that alcohol-consuming women of childbearing age tend to replace food energy with alcohol energy (P = 0·022). ‘More frequent heavy’ and ‘more frequent moderate/light’ drinkers had higher intakes of total, mono- and polyunsaturated fats with the latter group also consuming higher levels of saturated fats (P < 0·05). Women who were ‘infrequent moderate/light’ drinkers had relatively better diet quality, nutrient intakes and adequate biochemical status in comparison to other drinkers and abstainers. ‘Infrequent heavy’ drinkers, who were predominantly younger in age, had lower serum vitamin B12 levels (P = 0·01) with a higher proportion of women in this category having below-recommended levels of serum folate (P < 0·05).


Alcohol consumption, especially heavy drinking patterns, may compromise nutritional status of women of childbearing age.

Research paper
© The Authors 2020

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