Physical activity and gestational diabetes mellitus among Hispanic women

Author Department

Medicine; Ob/Gyn

Document Type

Article, Peer-reviewed

Publication Date



OBJECTIVE: Studies in predominantly non-Hispanic white populations have suggested that physical activity during pregnancy is associated with a reduced risk of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). There are few such studies in Hispanic women, a group at increased risk for GDM. METHODS: We conducted a prospective cohort study of household/caregiving, occupational, sports/exercise, and active living habits and the risk of GDM among 1006 Hispanic (predominantly Puerto Rican) prenatal care patients in western Massachusetts from 2000 to 2004. Prepregnancy, early pregnancy, and midpregnancy physical activity was assessed using the Kaiser Physical Activity Survey. RESULTS: A total of 33 women (3.3%) were diagnosed with GDM, and 119 women (11.8%) were diagnosed with abnormal glucose tolerance. There were no significant associations between GDM risk and occupational and active living activities in prepregnancy, early pregnancy, and midpregnancy or with a change in levels of household/caregiving, occupational, and active living activities from prepregnancy to during pregnancy. However, after controlling for age and prepregnancy body mass index (BMI), women in the highest quartile of prepregnancy (OR = 0.2, 95% CI 0.1-0.8, p(trend) = 0.03) and midpregnancy (OR = 0.2, 95% CI 0.1-0.8, p(trend) = 0.004) household/caregiving activities as well as midpregnancy sports/exercise (0.1, 95% CI 0.0-0.7, p(trend) = 0.12) had a reduced risk of GDM compared with women in the lowest quartile. CONCLUSIONS: Findings in this Hispanic population, although based on small numbers of cases, are consistent with prior research among predominantly non-Hispanic white populations.

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