Diets of lactating women often fail to meet recommendations

H. Smiciklas-Wright, M. F. Picciano, A. D. Mackey, Diane Crisman Mitchell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Nutrient intakes of lactating women (n=52) were evaluated from 2-day records at both 3 and 6 mo postpartum. Dietary data, analyzed at the Diet Assessment Services Unit, The Pennsylvania State University, were tabulated using the Minnesota Nutrition Data System. Intakes were expressed as daily averages, nutrient densities (intake/1000 kcal), and as percentages of standards. Paired t-tests and chi-square analyses were applied to data. Mean intake of energy was less than recommended; intakes of most nutrients met or exceeded recommendations, except for zinc, vitamins D and E at both 3 and 6 mo and calcium and folate at 6 mo. While mean iron intake exceeded the standard at both time frames, there was a significant decline from 3 to 6 months (p<0.05). Frequencies of mothers meeting >100%, 77-100%, 50%-<77%, <50% of nutrient standards differed significantly from 3 to 6 mo for calcium, folate, vitamins E, D, and B-6. Dietary adequacy diminished with the progression of lactation as evidenced by the number of women reporting less than one-half of recommended amounts at 6 mo for folate (p<.05) and calcium (p<0.5). Guidance for lactating women should stress food sources of folate, calcium, zinc, vitamins D, E, and B-6.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalFASEB Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1 1997

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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