Sociodemographic and Health Characteristics Associated With Attempting Weight Loss During Pregnancy
Published Date:Dec 15 2008
Source:Prev Chronic Dis. 2009; 6(1).
Approximately 40% of women of childbearing age report that they are attempting to lose weight. No professional medical organization recommends attempting to lose weight during pregnancy because of the possible risks to both mother and baby. Since half of all pregnancies are unintended, women may attempt to lose weight before they know they are pregnant, and some women may continue or initiate weight loss attempts even after they know they are pregnant. This study examines the extent to which pregnant women report attempting to lose weight and associated sociodemographic and health characteristics.
We used aggregated multiple-year data (1996-2003) from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System to assess the prevalence of attempting to lose weight among pregnant women and the extent to which sociodemographic and health characteristics are associated with the behavior.
The prevalence of attempting to lose weight during pregnancy was 8.1%. Attempting to lose weight during pregnancy was associated with age 35-44 years, Hispanic ethnicity, obesity, alcohol consumption, and mental distress during the previous month.
A substantial proportion of pregnant women attempt to lose weight. Preconception and prenatal care should include counseling women to achieve a healthy weight before becoming pregnant, to maintain healthy weight during pregnancy, and not to attempt weight loss during pregnancy. Further research should be conducted to understand how attempting weight loss during pregnancy translates into dietary change and weight loss and associated maternal and fetal outcomes.
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