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1.  Structural determinants of food insufficiency, low dietary diversity and BMI: a cross-sectional study of HIV-infected and HIV-negative Rwandan women 
BMJ Open  2012;2(2):e000714.
Objectives
In Sub-Saharan Africa, the overlapping epidemics of undernutrition and HIV infection affect over 200 and 23 million people, respectively, and little is known about the combined prevalence and nutritional effects. The authors sought to determine which structural factors are associated with food insufficiency, low dietary diversity and low body mass index (BMI) in HIV-negative and HIV-infected Sub-Saharan women.
Study design
Cross-sectional analysis of a longitudinal cohort.
Setting
Community-based women's organisations.
Participants
161 HIV-negative and 514 HIV-infected Rwandan women.
Primary and secondary outcome measures
Primary outcomes included food insufficiency (reporting ‘usually not’ or ‘never’ to ‘Do you have enough food?’), low household dietary diversity (Household Dietary Diversity Score ≤3) and BMI <18.5 (kg/m2). The authors also measured structural and behavioural factors including: income, household size, literacy and alcohol use.
Results
Food insufficiency was prevalent (46%) as was low dietary diversity (43%) and low BMI (15%). Food insufficiency and dietary diversity were associated with low income (adjusted odds ratio (aOR)=2.14 (95% CI 1.30 to 3.52) p<0.01), (aOR=6.51 (95% CI 3.66 to 11.57) p<0.001), respectfully and illiteracy (aOR=2.00 (95% CI 1.31 to 3.04) p<0.01), (aOR=2.10 (95% CI 1.37 to 3.23) p<0.001), respectfully and were not associated with HIV infection. Alcohol use was strongly associated with food insufficiency (aOR=3.23 (95% CI 1.99 to 5.24) p<0.001). Low BMI was inversely associated with HIV infection (aOR≈0.5) and was not correlated with food insufficiency or dietary diversity.
Conclusions
Rwandan women experienced high rates of food insufficiency and low dietary diversity. Extreme poverty, illiteracy and alcohol use, not HIV infection alone, may contribute to food insufficiency in Rwandan women. Food insufficiency, dietary diversity and low BMI do not correlate with one another; therefore, low BMI may not be an adequate screening tool for food insufficiency. Further studies are needed to understand the health effects of not having enough food, low food diversity and low weight in both HIV-negative and HIV-infected women.
Article summary
Article focus
What structural determinants are associated with food insufficiency, low dietary diversity and low BMI in HIV-negative and HIV-infected women in Rwanda?
What is the prevalence of food insufficiency, low dietary diversity and low BMI in HIV-negative and HIV-infected women in Rwanda and are these outcomes correlated with each other?
Hypotheses
1: Poverty, low literacy status and alcohol use are associated with food insufficiency, low dietary diversity and low BMI.
2: Food insufficiency, low dietary diversity and low BMI are highly prevalent and are correlated with one another.
Key messages
Food insufficiency and low dietary diversity are highly prevalent (46% and 43%, respectively) and are associated with low income and illiteracy and strongly associated with alcohol use.
BMI (kg/m2) is not correlated with food insufficiency or dietary diversity.
Significance: food insufficiency and low dietary diversity, known contributors to poor health, are highly prevalent in HIV-negative and HIV-infected women in Rwanda. Low BMI may not be an adequate screening tool for food insufficiency. Extreme poverty, low literacy and alcohol use may contribute to food insufficiency and low dietary diversity. These structural factors may be useful targets to prevent the adverse health effects of food insufficiency and low dietary diversity.
Strengths and limitations of this study
Large cohort of HIV-negative and HIV-infected women, very detailed tools used for food insufficiency and dietary diversity
Cross-sectional design, our measurement of food insufficiency is solely by self-report.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2011-000714
PMCID: PMC3329607  PMID: 22505309
2.  Validation of a food frequency questionnaire to assess intake of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in subjects with and without Major Depressive Disorder 
The role of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in psychiatric illness is a topic of public health importance. This report describes development and biomarker validation of a 21 item, self-report food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) intended for use in psychiatric research, to assess intake of α-linolenic acid (18:3n-3, ALA), docosahexaenoic acid (22:6n-3, DHA), and eicosapentaenoic acid (20:5n-3, EPA). In a cross-sectional study carried out from September, 2006 – September, 2008, 61 ethnically diverse adult participants with (n=34) and without (n=27) Major Depressive Disorder completed this n-3 PUFA FFQ and provided a plasma sample. Plasma levels of n-3 PUFAs EPA and DHA, and n-6 PUFA arachidonic acid (20:4n-6, AA) were quantified by gas chromatography. Using Spearman’s rho, FFQ-estimated intake correlated with plasma levels of DHA (r =0.50, p<0.0001) and EPA (r=0.38, p=0.002), but not with ALA levels (r =0.22 p=0.086). Participants were classified into quartiles by FFQ-estimated intake and plasma PUFA concentrations. Efficacy of the FFQ to rank individuals into same or adjacent plasma quartiles was 83% for DHA, 78.1% for EPA, and 70.6% for ALA; misclassification into extreme quartiles was 4.9% for DHA, 6.5% for EPA, and 8.2% for ALA. FFQ-estimated EPA intake and plasma EPA were superior to plasma AA levels as predictors of the plasma AA to EPA ratio. This brief FFQ can provide researchers and clinicians with valuable information concerning dietary intake of DHA and EPA.
doi:10.1016/j.jada.2010.10.007
PMCID: PMC3012380  PMID: 21185973
n-3 PUFA; mood disorders; docosahexaenoic acid; eicosapentaenoic acid; nutrition assessment
3.  Comparative Study of the Effects of a 1-Year Dietary Intervention of a Low-Carbohydrate Diet Versus a Low-Fat Diet on Weight and Glycemic Control in Type 2 Diabetes 
Diabetes Care  2009;32(7):1147-1152.
OBJECTIVE
To compare the effects of a 1-year intervention with a low-carbohydrate and a low-fat diet on weight loss and glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
This study is a randomized clinical trial of 105 overweight adults with type 2 diabetes. Primary outcomes were weight and A1C. Secondary outcomes included blood pressure and lipids. Outcome measures were obtained at 3, 6, and 12 months.
RESULTS
The greatest reduction in weight and A1C occurred within the first 3 months. Weight loss occurred faster in the low-carbohydrate group than in the low-fat group (P = 0.005), but at 1 year a similar 3.4% weight reduction was seen in both dietary groups. There was no significant change in A1C in either group at 1 year. There was no change in blood pressure, but a greater increase in HDL was observed in the low-carbohydrate group (P = 0.002).
CONCLUSIONS
Among patients with type 2 diabetes, after 1 year a low-carbohydrate diet had effects on weight and A1C similar to those seen with a low-fat diet. There was no significant effect on blood pressure, but the low-carbohydrate diet produced a greater increase in HDL cholesterol.
doi:10.2337/dc08-2108
PMCID: PMC2699720  PMID: 19366978
4.  Improving Dietary Habits in Disadvantaged Women With HIV/AIDS: The SMART/EST Women’s Project 
AIDS and behavior  2006;10(6):659-670.
There is a lack of information on whether brief nutrition education can succeed in improving longer-term dietary patterns in disadvantaged populations with HIV/AIDS. In the SMART/EST II Women’s Project 466 disadvantaged women with HIV/AIDS were randomized to one of four groups and received a two-phase training consisting of a coping skills/stress management and nutrition education provided either in a group or individually. At baseline the majority of participants had excessive fat and sugar consumption and suboptimal intakes of vegetables, fruits, calcium-rich foods and whole grains. Dietary patterns for all participants improved after the nutrition intervention primarily due to decreases in high fat and high sugar foods such as soda and fried foods and were still significantly better 18 months later. There were only short-term differences in improvements between the four groups. These findings support the value of even brief nutrition education for disadvantaged women living with HIV/AIDS.
doi:10.1007/s10461-006-9115-5
PMCID: PMC2587452  PMID: 16770694
HIV; AIDS; Nutrition; Women; Cognitive-behavioral stress management

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