Food Habits and Choices, Physical Activity, and Breastfeeding Among Overweight and Obese Postpartum Women.

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Holiday A. Durham (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Cheryl Lovelady

Abstract: Weight gain during pregnancy and weight retention 6 months postpartum are critical markers in predicting risk for life-long overweight in childbearing women. Pre-pregnancy weight, age, race, marital status, income, and parity are related to weight retention among postpartum women. Health behaviors, such as dietary intake, physical activity, and breastfeeding have also been associated with weight loss during the postpartum period. The purpose of this study was to 1.) describe food group servings, nutrient intake and quality, and meal and snack intake of exclusively breastfeeding (EB), mixed feeding (MF), or formula feeding (FF) women and 2.) determine how breastfeeding, food choices, and physical activity impact weight change by 6 months postpartum. In this sample of 450 women, the FF group consumed fewer calories and servings of grains, refined grains, and desserts. FF women were more likely to report dieting and not consume a multivitamin. All groups were at risk for vitamins A, E and C, calcium, folate and fiber inadequacies. MF women were also at risk for vitamins D, B-6, and zinc inadequacies, while FF women were also at risk for vitamin D inadequacy. Among 188 women, breastfeeding duration was related to weight loss (r = 0.23, P<0.01); however, when controlling for other factors, breastfeeding was no longer significant. Physical activity was not related to weight loss (r = 0.01, P= 0.87). Women most likely to lose weight were those with higher income (P<0.01), lower weight at 2 months postpartum (P<0.01), higher gestational weight gain (P<0.01), and consuming fewer daily servings of soda, sweetened beverages, weekly fast food (P<0.01), French fries, chips, and desserts and sweets (P=0.05) . These findings suggest encouraging fruit, vegetable, dairy, grain, meat and beans, and healthy fat consumption may increase nutrients at risk for inadequacy in the diet. The behavioral factors significantly associated with weight gain were daily servings of soda, sweetened beverages, French fries, chips, desserts and sweets, and weekly fast food consumption. Decreasing these dietary behaviors may help promote weight loss during the postpartum period.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2008
Postpartum, Lactation, Diet, Physical activity, Overweight
Postnatal care $x Health and hygiene.
Lactation $x Nutritional aspects.
Body weight $x Regulation $x Nutritional aspects.
Physical fitness for women.
Exercise for women.
Breastfeeding $x Health and hygiene.
Mothers $x Nutrition.
Overweight women.

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