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Preventing Obesity: Exercise and Daily Activities of Low-Income Pregnant Women

Yeo, SeonAe PhD, RNC; Logan, Jeongok G. PhD, RN

The Journal of Perinatal & Neonatal Nursing: January/March 2014 - Volume 28 - Issue 1 - p 17–25
doi: 10.1097/JPN.0000000000000000
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Low-income women are at risk for excessive gestational weight gain. Inactive lifestyle and lack of regular moderate exercise may contribute to the risk of weight gain. This study was conducted to (1) determine the rate and characteristics of low-income pregnant women who exercised regularly and met the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommendation and (2) describe how these women spent time for other physical activities compared with those who did not exercise regularly. Medicaid-recipient or uninsured pregnant women (n = 816) were asked to complete a physical activity questionnaire at rural and urban county health departments located in North Carolina. Twenty percent of low-income women met the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommendation for moderate exercise (≥10 METs-h/wk [metabolic equivalent task-hours per week]). The women who met the recommendation spent 3 hours 45 minutes per week walking as exercise, whereas those who did not meet the recommendation spent 1 hour per week (P < .0001). Women who exercised regularly spent longer hours at work (4.25 vs 1.75 hours per day; P = .019) and on household tasks (5.25 vs 4.0 hours per day; P = .002) than women who did not exercise regularly. Time spent on domestic and occupation activities does not seem to prohibit low-income women from engaging in moderate exercise on a regular basis.

School of Nursing, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Dr Yeo); National Institute of Nursing Research, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland (Dr Logan).

Corresponding Author: SeonAe Yeo, PhD, RNC, School of Nursing, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Carrington Hall, CB#7460, Chapel Hill, NC 27599 (

The authors thank the following North Carolina County Health Department staff for their support in the data collection process: Caldwell, Rowan, Stoke, Wilson, Jackson, Harnett, Robeson, Yadkin, Durham, Cumberland, Pender, Wilkes, and Green. They also thank Dr Wanda Thompson, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, School of Nursing, for assistance in data entry and are indebted to women for taking time to finish the survey in the midst of busy schedules.

Disclosure: The authors have disclosed that they have no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.

Submitted for publication: August 15, 2013; accepted for publication: October 1, 2013.

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