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Physical Activity Changes during Pregnancy in a Comparative Impact Trial

Thomson, Jessica L., Tussing-Humphreys, Lisa M., Goodman, Melissa H., Olender, Sarah E.
American Journal of Health Behavior 2016 v.40 no.6 pp. 685-696
African Americans, curriculum, food intake, gestation period, health behavior, infants, parents, physical activity, pregnancy, pregnant women, public health, teachers
Objectives: Delta Healthy Sprouts was designed to test the comparative impact of 2 home visiting curricula 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. Methods: Eighty-two women, early in their second trimester of pregnancy, were enrolled and randomly assigned to one of 2 treatment arms. Self-reported physical activity was measured 3 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). Results: Significantly less 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 treatment by time interaction. Conclusions: Neither the Parents as Teachers (control) curriculum nor the 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.