Healthy Eating Beats Exercise in Preventing Weight Gain in Pregnancy

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Healthy eating tops physical activity intervention for obese pregnant women at risk for gestational diabetes.

Pregnant women benefited more from a healthy eating intervention vs. a physical activity intervention.
Pregnant women benefited more from a healthy eating intervention vs. a physical activity intervention.

(HealthDay News) — A healthy eating intervention is associated with lower gestational weight gain and fasting glucose than a physical activity intervention, according to a study published in Diabetes Care.

In a multicenter randomized trial, David Simmons, MD, from Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge, U.K., and colleagues compared the impact of three lifestyle interventions on gestational diabetes risk. 

One hundred fifty pregnant women (BMI of at least 29) without gestational diabetes were randomly assigned to a healthy eating, a physical activity or a healthy eating plus physical activity intervention. Women received five face-to-face and four optional telephone-coaching sessions.

Thirty-two percent of the trial participants developed gestational diabetes by 35 to 37 weeks, and 20% achieved gestational weight gain of less than 5 kg, the researchers reported. 

Compared with those in the physical activity group, women in the healthy eating group had less gestational weight gain  (−2.6 kg; P=.03) and lower fasting glucose (−0.3 mmol/L; P=.01) at 24 to 28 weeks. 

Differences were not significant for the healthy eating plus physical activity group vs. other groups.

"Although a larger trial is still clearly needed, these pilot findings are promising and support the use of early [healthy eating] interventions in obese pregnant women," the researchers wrote.

One author disclosed financial ties to Novo Nordisk.

Reference

  1. Simmons D et al. Diabetes Care. 2015;doi:10.2337/dc15-0360.
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