A cross cultural examination of factors influencing exercise during pregnancy Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/3f4627796

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  • Overweight and obesity are a growing national concern, particularly among women and selected minority populations (Ayala, Elder, Campbell, Slymen, Roy, Engelberg, et al., 2004; NHANES, 2003). Pregnant women bear a disproportionate risk of becoming overweight or obese (Greene, Smickikias-Wright, Scholl, & Karp, 1988; Gunderson et al., 2000; Rossner, 1999). Although exercise is a key factor in preventing overweight and obesity, women often decrease their exercise levels during pregnancy (McTigue, Garrett, & Popkin, 2002; Viau, Padula, & Eddy, 2002; Zhang & Savitz, 1996). Reported percentages of regular exercise during pregnancy have been documented as low as 5% in a predominately White population (Steele, 2002). Although there is ample evidence demonstrating that Hispanic women exercise less than White women during every other stage of life, little is known about how pregnant Hispanic and White women compare in exercise behaviors (Crespo, Smit, Andersen, Carter-Pokras, & Ainsworth, 2000). The purpose of this research was to study low-income White and Hispanic pregnant women to (1) determine the nature and the extent of exercise behaviors both before pregnancy and during pregnancy (2) identify factors that influence exercise behaviors (3) determine if there are differences in factors that influence exercise between ethnicities. Data were collected via a questionnaire developed by the author. A sample of 301 White and Hispanic pregnant women were recruited through the Women, Infants, and Children [WIC] agencies in four selected counties in Oregon. Although ACOG guidelines provide clear information on the benefits of exercise, over 90% of the women surveyed did not exercise at ACOG guidelines. A majority of the women, 57.8%, actually decreased exercise during pregnancy. Although ethnic differences did not exist in the prevalence of exercise during pregnancy, differences between ethnicities were found in the variety of exercise activities performed and behavioral factors that predicted exercise behavior. Analysis of these differences and the factors contributing to the overall low levels of exercise may provide critical information for future intervention program planning. Well targeted programs will ultimately decrease the excessive weight gain and subsequent increased risk for overweight or obesity that pregnant women face.
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