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Dietary intervention in gestational diabetes: a qualitative study of the acceptability and feasibility of a novel whole-diet intervention in healthcare professionals.

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Kusinski, Laura Caroline 
Richards, Rebecca 
Jones, Danielle L 
Turner, Elizabeth 
Hughes, Deborah J 


Gestational diabetes is treated with medical nutrition therapy, delivered by healthcare professionals; however, the optimal diet for affected women is unknown. Randomised controlled trials, such as the DiGest (Dietary Intervention in Gestational Diabetes) trial, will address this knowledge gap, but the acceptability of whole-diet interventions in pregnancy is unclear. Whole-diet approaches reduce bias but require high levels of participant commitment and long intervention periods to generate meaningful clinical outcomes. We aimed to assess healthcare professionals' views on the acceptability of the DiGest dietbox intervention for women with gestational diabetes and to identify any barriers to adherence which could be addressed to support good recruitment and retention to the DiGest trial. Female healthcare professionals (n 16) were randomly allocated to receive a DiGest dietbox containing 1200 or 2000 kcal/d including at least one weeks' food. A semi-structured interview was conducted to explore participants' experience of the intervention. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed thematically using NVivo software. Based on the findings of qualitative interviews, modifications were made to the dietboxes. Participants found the dietboxes convenient and enjoyed the variety and taste of the meals. Factors which facilitated adherence included participants having a good understanding of study aims and sufficient organisational skills to facilitate weekly meal planning in advance. Barriers to adherence included peer pressure during social occasions and feelings of deprivation or hunger (affecting both standard and reduced calorie groups). Healthcare professionals considered random allocation to a whole-diet replacement intervention to be acceptable and feasible in a clinical environment and offered benefits to participants including convenience.



Food intervention, Gestational diabetes, Lifestyle, Pregnancy, Qualitative research, Randomised control trial, Reduced calorie

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The British Journal of Nutrition: an international journal of nutritional science

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Cambridge University Press
Department of Health (via National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)) (RP-PG-0216-20010)
MRC (MC_UU_00006/6)
Diabetes UK (17/0005712)