Date of Defense


Date of Graduation



Family and Consumer Sciences

First Advisor

Arezoo Rojhani

Second Advisor

Ping Ouyang

Third Advisor

Lauren Hunt


Background: Healthy Eating Index (HEI) is a useful tool that can be used to assess dietary quality via adherence to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate diet quality of pregnant women participating in the WIC program and to examine possible associations with demographic variables, nutrition knowledge, and key health indicators.

Study Design, Settings, and Participants: A cross-sectional study using survey methodology was conducted. Sixty pregnant women between 12 and 24 weeks of gestation and carrying a single fetus were recruited from the WIC program at a community health center.

Measurable Outcome/Analysis: Dietary intake was evaluated using two 3-day food records, the first set completed at baseline and the second at follow-up, around 28 weeks of gestation. Food records were analyzed and scored based on HEI-2015. A HEI score above 80 was considered adequate, between 60 and 79.99 average, and below 60 low. Participants’ demographic data, and key health indicators, including height, pre-pregnancy weight, and blood hemoglobin levels were recorded. Nutrition knowledge was assessed. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyze data.

Results:The mean HEI score of the sample was 59.1 at baseline, and 56.8 at follow-up. There was a significant difference in the distribution of participants’ HEI scores among the three HEI categories at both baseline and follow-up (P

Conclusion: The suboptimal status of the diet of study participants warrants the need for additional dietary counseling for WIC-enrolled pregnant women.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Restricted