Reproductive-aged women are at high risk for obesity development. Limited research exploring weight gain prevention initiatives and associated modifiable risk factors, including diet quality exists. In a secondary analysis of a 12 month, cluster randomized controlled trial for weight gain prevention in reproductive-aged women, we evaluated change in diet quality, macronutrient and micronutrient intake, predictors of change and associations with weight change at follow-up. Forty-one rural towns in Victoria, Australia were randomized to a healthy lifestyle intervention (n = 21) or control (n = 20). Women aged 18–50, of any body mass index and without conditions known to affect weight, were recruited. Diet quality was assessed by the Dietary Guideline Index (DGI) and energy, macronutrient, and micronutrient intake as well as anthropometrics (weight; kg) were measured at baseline and 12 months. Results were adjusted for group (intervention/control), town cluster, and baseline values of interest. Of 409 women with matched data at baseline and follow-up, 220 women were included for final analysis after accounting for plausible energy intake. At 12 months, diet quality had improved by 6.2% following the intervention, compared to no change observed in the controls (p < 0.001). Significant association was found between a change in weight and a change in diet quality score over time β −0.66 (95%CI −1.2, −0.12) p = 0.02. The percentage of energy from protein (%) 0.009 (95%CI 0.002, 0.15) p = 0.01 and glycemic index −1.2 (95%CI −2.1, −0.24) p = 0.02 were also improved following the intervention, compared to the control group. Overall, a low-intensity lifestyle intervention effectively improves diet quality, with associated weight gain preventions, in women of reproductive age.
- Diet quality