Postpartum physical activity and related psychosocial factors among women with recent gestational diabetes mellitus
OBJECTIVE-In this study, we examined patterns of postpartum physical activity among women with recent gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) and psychosocial factors related to this behavior that could be addressed in diabetes prevention interventions. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS-A random sample of women who had attended diabetes clinics in Sydney, Australia, in the past 6-24 months for treatment of GDM were surveyed by telephone. Variables measured included physical activity behaviors, self-efficacy, social support, and barriers to participation. RESULTS-Of 226 women who completed the survey (mean age 33.4 years), 26.5% were classified as sedentary, and only 33.6% reported sufficient physical activity as recommended by health authorities. Walking was the most popular physical activity, and most women reported no other moderate- or vigorous-intensity activity. Lack of assistance with child care (49.1%) and insufficient time (37.6%) were the most common barriers to physical activity. The type of social support most often reported was verbal encouragement (39.1%), with more than half of the women never receiving assistance with housework or others exercising with them. Self-efficacy for physical activity was lowest when women were under time pressure or tired. Multivariate analyses showed that sufficient physical activity was associated with high social support (odds ratio 2.5 [95% CI 1.21-3.79]) and high self-efficacy (2.09 [1.06-3.20]). CONCLUSIONS-The prevalence of sufficient physical activity was found to be low and strongly related to social support and self-efficacy. This is an important group to whom diabetes prevention strategies can be targeted.
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