Lactating women need to consume a high-quality diet to replete nutrient stores depleted during pregnancy and to ensure sufficient nutrition for breastfeeding. However, several studies reported suboptimal dietary quality and nutrient intake of lactating mothers in China. The objectives of this study was to apply dietary modeling method to develop individualized optimal diets, which meet the nutrient requirements for lactating women in urban China.
Data were collected from a sample of 576 lactating women from 0 to 240 days postpartum during the Maternal Infant Nutrition Growth study conducted between 2011 and 2012 in three cities including Beijing, Guangzhou, and Suzhou. Dietary intake data were collected with an interviewer-administered 24-h survey. Linear programming was applied to develop dietary plans that meet recommendations for lactation women in the China Dietary Reference Intakes 2013 and the Chinese Dietary Guideline 2016, while with least deviation from the observed dietary intake.
Through dietary modeling, individual optimal diets were developed for 576 lactating women. The optimal diets met all the food and nutrient intake constraints set in the linear programming models. The large difference between observed and optimized diets suggests that the nutrient needs of lactating mothers in China may only be met after substantial dietary changes. In addition, the analysis showed that it was difficult to meet the recommended intake for six nutrients: vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B6, calcium, selenium, and dietary fiber. Moreover, four clusters in the optimized diets were identified by K-means cluster analysis. The four clusters confirmed that the optimal diets developed by linear programming could characterize the variety in dietary habits by geographical regions and duration of lactation.
Linear programming could help translate nutrient recommendations into personal diet advices for a sample of urban lactating mothers from China. The study showed that dietary modeling is helpful to support healthy eating of lactation women by translating dietary guidelines into personalized meal plans.
The Maternal Infant Nutrition Growth study was registered in ClinicalTrials.gov with identifier NCT01971671. Registration date October 29, 2013.
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- Translation of nutrient recommendations into personalized optimal diets for Chinese urban lactating women by linear programming models
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