Skip to main content
ARS Home » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #329092

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

Location: Location not imported yet.

Title: Physical activity changes during pregnancy in a comparative impact trial.

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

Submitted to: American Journal of Health Behavior
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/9/2016
Publication Date: 11/1/2016
Publication URL: http://handle.nal.usda.gov/10113/5695337
Citation: Thomson, J.L., Tussing-Humphreys, L.M., Goodman, M.H., Olender, S.E. 2016. Physical activity changes during pregnancy in a comparative impact trial. American Journal of Health Behavior. 40(6):685-696.

Interpretive Summary: Regular exercise during pregnancy is important for easing discomforts such as back pain, boosting mood and energy levels, better sleep, preventing excess weight gain, and increasing stamina and muscle strength. Further, new evidence suggests that maternal exercise during pregnancy can protect offspring against chronic disease susceptibility later in life. Given the low percentage of American adults, including pregnant women, meeting the recommended amount of 150 minutes per week of moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA), interventions targeting this beneficial health behavior are needed. Delta Healthy Sprouts was designed to test the comparative impact of two home visiting programs on weight status, dietary intake, physical activity, and other health behaviors of rural, Southern African American women and their infants. In this paper, physical activity levels and changes during the gestational period are reported. Eighty-two women, early in their second trimester of pregnancy, were enrolled and randomly assigned to one of two treatment groups. Self-reported physical activity was measured three times in the gestational period (gestational months 4, 6 and 8). Results indicated that significantly less minutes per week of MVPA were performed at gestational month 8 as compared with gestational month 4 (enrollment) for both treatment groups. No differences between the two treatment groups were found for any of the three time points. Neither the standard Parents as Teachers curriculum nor the more complex Parents as Teachers Enhanced intervention were successful at increasing or maintaining physical activity in this sample of pregnant women. Despite the lack of impact of the Delta Healthy Sprouts Project, health professionals and researchers need to continue to focus on encouraging and empowering pregnant women to obtain adequate physical activity for their own health and the health of their unborn child.

Technical Abstract: Delta Healthy Sprouts was designed to test the comparative impact of two home visiting programs on weight status, dietary intake, physical activity, and other health behaviors of rural, Southern African American women and their infants. Results pertaining to physical activity outcomes in the gestational period are reported. Eight-two women, early in their second trimester of pregnancy, were enrolled and randomly assigned to one of two treatment arms. Self-reported physical activity was measured three times in the gestational period (gestational months 4, 6 and 8). Generalized linear mixed models were used to test for significant treatment, time, and treatment by time effects on weekly minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA). Significantly less minutes per week of MVPA was performed at gestational month 8 as compared with gestational month 4 (enrollment) for both treatment arms. Significant effects were not found for treatment or time by treatment interaction. Neither the standard Parents as Teachers curriculum nor the more complex Parents as Teachers Enhanced intervention proved effective at increasing or maintaining MVPA in this cohort of pregnant women. Lack of adequate physical activity in pregnancy remains a significant public health concern, especially given its known health benefits.