Longitudinal study of energy, neurosensory and eating responses durinG pregnancY (ENERGY cohort): A study protocol

Jessica C. McCormack, Reece Roberts, Mike Garratt, Ting Wang, John Hayes, Mei Peng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Background and aims: Physiological changes that occur during pregnancy can have long-term impacts on metabolism and neurosensory responses to food, which can impact nutrition and health outcomes. The ENERGY cohort is a longitudinal study that aims to capitalizes on pregnancy as a natural model of metabolic reprogramming in order to understand the neurosensory mechanisms underpinning links between metabolism and dietary behaviour. The study objectives are to test for multi-sensory shifts during pregnancy, and the effect of sensory changes on dietary choices and bodyweights, and to identify neurosensory mechanisms that determine macronutrient selection before and after pregnancy. Methods: A longitudinal cohort study involving 130 pregravid women planning to conceive with the next 12-months and 65 pregravid women with no short-term plans to conceive. Participants will be recruited from Dunedin and Auckland, New Zealand. The study will test for changes in diet, neurosensory outcomes, and metabolism across the reproductive cycle, from pre-pregnancy to 1-year post-pregnancy. Data will be collected at six timepoint throughout the pregnancy which will occur approximately every 3 months. The primary response variables will be changes in supra-threshold sensitivity across modalities, dietary intake, and metabolism between pre-pregnancy and post-pregnancy. Longitudinal data analysis will use linear mixed models to assess changes in the response outcomes over time adjusted for age, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. Discussion: Understanding the relationship between metabolism, sensory processing, and macronutrient preferences will provide crucial insights into diet-related health issues, including obesity. This study will lead to the formation of a prospective research cohort that is unique to Aotearoa New Zealand, and will develop multidisciplinary skills that are increasingly necessary to addressing the obesity epidemic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)271-276
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Nutrition ESPEN
StatePublished - Apr 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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