A Review of Nutrition Education: Before, Between and Beyond Pregnancy
Nutrition education is defined as any set of learning experiences designed to facilitate the voluntary adoption of eating and other nutrition-related behaviors, conducive to health and well being. Preconception, the period before pregnancy and usually encompassing teenaged years and early adulthood, was identified by the 1992 Institute of Medicine Report as an important period for intense nutrition education to achieve optimal prepregnancy nutritional status. The primary objective was to evaluate the effectiveness of nutrition education for reproductive-aged females. Studies, conducted in the United States and internationally, published between 1992-2009 were identified through a library search of databases and an examination of reference lists of relevant publications. Studies included those that involved adolescent and/or adult females and examined the impact of nutrition education intervention. Only articles published in peer reviewed journals in English were included in this review. Ten studies were identified that met the review criteria. Findings from this review suggest that there has been some progress since the 1992 Institute of Medicine Report; however long-term empirical evidence in this area is relatively scant. Therefore, there is the need for well-designed, evidencebased, peer-reviewed studies to determine program effectiveness and impact over the lifecourse of the reproductive aged female.
Keywords: Nutrition education, dietary behaviors, preconception care, prepregnancy nutrition, post pregnancy nutrition, interconceptional care
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