Mediterranean Diet in Pregnancy and its Association with Newborns` Body Size in Dalmatia, Croatia – The Preliminary Results of the Croatian Islands Birth Cohort Study

Matea Zajc Petranović, Dubravka Havaš Auguštin, Natalija Novokmet, Jelena Šarac, Ana Perinić Lewis, Nives Fuchs, Noel Cameron, Lawrence M Schell, Ellen W Demerath, Deni Karelović, Saša Missoni


A pregnant woman’s nutrition has an impact on her offspring’s birth size. Although health benefits of Mediterranean diet are widely confirmed, the poor compliance with its recommendations has been detected in the population of Dalmatia, coastal region of Croatia. Data from 122 mother–newborn pairs, participants in the ongoing Croatian Islands` Birth Cohort Study (CRIBS), were analyzed: (1) to test whether pregnant women in the study consume Mediterranean diet that is traditional in this area, and (2) to examine the association of maternal diet in pregnancy with newborns` birth weight, length and head circumference. The preliminary results of the factor analysis of 20 items from Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ) resulted in two significant factors, both having positive loading with the components of Mediterranean diet. Factor 1 had highest positive loadings for blue fish, white fish, olive oil and fatty cheese consumption consistent with the Mediterranean diet and Factor 2 had highest loading coefficients for fermented milk products (yogurt), sea food, cereals and legumes. Linear regression analyses resulted in model for weight at birth (R2=0.071, p<0.05) which included as predictors living location (island or mainland) and FFQ Factor 2, which was also, in combination with moderate physical activity, predictive for newborns with z-scored weight at birth values above 15% of the lowest values in the logistic regression model. Pregnant women from the CRIBS study mostly follow Mediterranean diet but its association with weight at birth, although found in this research, has to be confirmed on a bigger sample.


Croatian Islands Birth Cohort Study (CRIBS), cohort, dietary intake in pregnancy, Mediterranean diet, newborns` anthropometry, Croatia

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