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Research Project: Improving Nutrition and Physical Activity Related Health Behaviors in Children and Their Environment

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Title: Baseline demographic, anthropometric, psychosocial, and behavioral characteristics of rural, Southern women in early pregnacy

Author
item Thomson, Jessica
item Tussing-humphreys, Lisa - University Of Illinois
item Goodman, Melissa
item Olender, Sarah - University Of Illinois

Submitted to: Maternal and Child Health Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/29/2016
Publication Date: 9/2/2016
Citation: Thomson, J.L., Tussing-Humphreys, L.M., Goodman, M.H., Olender, S. 2016. Baseline demographic, anthropometric, psychosocial, and behavioral characteristics of rural, Southern women in early pregnacy. Maternal and Child Health Journal 2016;20:1980-1988. doi: 10.1007/s10995-016-2016-y.

Interpretive Summary: Good nutrition and adequate physical activity are essential for pregnant women and their developing babies, and these healthy behaviors should start at conception, if not before. Of particular concern, especially for African American women, are becoming pregnant while obese and gaining too much weight during pregnancy. Obesity during pregnancy exposes women and their infants to greater risk of adverse pregnancy and birth outcomes, such as miscarriage, gestational diabetes, congenital abnormalities, and still birth. The Delta Healthy Sprouts Project will test the impact of two home visitation programs on weight control, diet improvement, and increased exercise in the mothers and appropriate growth, feeding practices, and reduced confinement time in infants. The current study reports the baseline (early second trimester of pregnancy) characteristics of Delta Healthy Sprouts participants recruited from three Lower Mississippi Delta counties. The majority of the 82 participants were African American (96%), young (mean age = 23 years), single (93%), and received Medicaid (92%). Average gestational age was 18 weeks, 67% of participants were overweight or obese before becoming pregnant, and 16% tested positive for depression. On average, participants were inactive, performing only 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity per week, and had low diet quality with few meeting recommendations for consumption of saturated fat (38%), fiber (4%), and sodium (7%). The results of this study will determine the impact of the Delta Healthy Sprouts Project on improving pregnancy and birth outcomes in this population of at risk females with significant behavioral barriers to optimal weight gain in pregnancy.

Technical Abstract: Beginning life in a healthy uterine environment is essential for future well-being, particularly as it relates to chronic disease risk. Baseline (early pregnancy) demographic, anthropometric (height and weight), psychosocial (depression and perceived stress), and behavioral (diet and exercise) characteristics of participants in the Delta Healthy Sprouts Project are described. Delta Healthy Sprouts was designed to evaluate the impact of an enhanced diet and physical activity maternal, infant, and early childhood home visiting program compared with a standard program for optimal gestational weight gain, reduced weight retention postpartum, and infant growth among rural, Southern, primarily African American women and their infants. Participants included 82 women early in their second trimester of pregnancy and residing in three Lower Mississippi Delta counties in the United States. Baseline data were gathered through direct measurement and surveys. Participants were primarily African American (96%), young (mean age = 23 years), single (93%), and received Medicaid (92%). Mean gestational age was 18 weeks, 67% of participants were overweight or obese before becoming pregnant, and 16% tested positive for major depression. Participants were sedentary (mean minutes of moderate intensity physical activity/week = 30), had low diet quality (mean Healthy Eating Index-2010 total score = 43 points), with only 38%, 4%, and 7% meeting recommendations for saturated fat, fiber, and sodium intakes, respectively. Trial outcomes will determine the impact of the Delta Healthy Sprouts intervention on healthy pregnancy and birth outcomes in this population of at risk females with significant behavioral barriers to optimal gestational weight gain.