The Nutritional Status of Filipino Pregnant Adolescents 14 to 19 Years Old in a Tertiary Hospital

  • Vanessa-Maria F. Torres-Ticzon
  • Emma Alesna-Llanto
  • Rosa Ma. H. Nancho
Keywords: pregnant adolescent, teen mom, maternal nutrition


Objectives. 1) To determine the nutritional status of pregnant adolescents aged 14 to 19 years seen at the Philippine General Hospital Teen Mom Clinic from February to July 2014; 2) To describe the demographic characteristics, pregnancy history, and lifestyle and health habits of adolescent mothers; 3) To describe the adequacy of the daily intake of nutrients (caloric energy, carbohydrates, protein, fats, folate, calcium, and iron) of adolescent mothers; and 4) To determine the association of specific demographic characteristics with body mass index categories.

Methods. This was a prospective cross-sectional study. Included were the pregnant adolescents aged 14 to 19 years of age, referred to the Teen Mom Clinic, who planned to deliver at the Philippine General Hospital. Informed consent and assent forms were signed, and the principal investigator interviewed the subjects for demographic and clinical history at the time of enrolment. The adolescents were taught and instructed to fill up the food diary (2 weekdays and 1 weekend) and the food frequency (once) forms. These were submitted on their next visit and given to a licensed nutritionist for analysis. The nutritional status was assessed by gathering the weight and height of the patients in order to compute for the body mass index at the time of enrolment in the study.

Results. The percentage distribution of nutritional status of pregnant adolescents consisted of the following: 65% normal; 28% underweight; 3.5% overweight; 3.5% obese. The 60 pregnant adolescents had a mean age of 16.9 years (SD 1.2). Their partners had a mean age of 20.3 years [SD 3.8]. On the average, they had a total of five pre-natal checkups. Majority of the respondents (85%) still depended primarily on their parents for financial support. Around 93% of the pregnancies were unplanned. Their median percent adequacy for daily calories was 72%, carbohydrates 69%, proteins 73%, and fats 86%. For the micronutrients, the median percent adequacies for folate, calcium, and iron, based on the needs of pregnant women, were 18%, 63%, and 29%, respectively. If amounts were compared to the requirements by age, the median adequacies of intake were 27%, 50%, and 41%, respectively. The nutritional status was not found dependent on the age, educational attainment, number of siblings, and the monthly family income of the respondents.

Conclusion. Only 65% of the pregnant adolescents had normal nutritional status. There was still an elevated level of malnutrition among pregnant adolescents as shown in this study: 28% were underweight, 3.3% were overweight, and another 3.3% were obese.