Newly Funded Study to Focus on Healthy Choices for Pregnant Women

Arnold School researchers receive $2.9 million for a study of overweight, obese pregnant women.

PRC Director, Dr. Sara Wilcox


Dr. Jihong Liu


Arnold School of Public Health researchers Dr. Sara Wilcox and Dr. Jihong Liu have been awarded a $2.9 million grant for a five-year study on the best methods to help overweight and obese women have a healthy weight during pregnancy and after the birth of their children.

The funding is from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at the National Institutes of Health.

The study is timely. Nearly three-quarters of African American women and half of non-Hispanic white women of childbearing ages living in the United States are overweight or obese and nearly half (46 percent) of pregnant U.S. women exceed the recommended range of weight gain, designated by the Institute of Medicine, during pregnancy.

Women who become pregnant when they are overweight or obese have a greater risk for serious health problems, said Wilcox, director of the Prevention Research Center at the Arnold School and a researcher in the Department of Exercise Science.

To date, few studies have been successful at helping obese and overweight women who are pregnant gain a healthy weight during pregnancy, she said, noting that many of the previous interventions have also had little racial minority representation.

The interventions being tested in the study will include white and African American women and have a physical activity component, along with helping women develop healthy diet and nutrition choices, Wilcox said.

For more information, see the full story from the Arnold School of Public Health here.