FUNDING SOURCE: National Institutes of Health (NICHD) (2014-2019)



Nearly three-quarters of African American women and half of non-Hispanic White women of childbearing ages in the US are overweight or obese. About one-half (46%) of pregnant women exceed gestational weight gain recommendations. This problem is significant because excessive gestational weight gain is a strong risk factor for new or persistent obesity in women and increases a woman’s risk for maternal complications. Furthermore, accumulating observational studies show that higher maternal gestational weight gain is associated with higher offspring birth weight, which persists in childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood. Novel intervention approaches have the potential to help overweight/obese financially disadvantaged women achieve healthy weight control during and after pregnancy and improve the health of their offspring. We will build on our promising R21 feasibility study to address the following specific aims: (1) examine the impact of a lifestyle intervention on gestational weight gain and postpartum weight loss in overweight and obese women, (2) examine the impact of the intervention on physical activity (PA), dietary intake, and quality of life (QOL), (3) examine race differences in total gestational weight gain, PA, dietary intake, and QOL; and (4) examine the impact of the intervention on offspring adiposity. Pregnant women (N=500) women, half African American and half White, will be recruited from obstetric clinics in the greater Columbia, South Carolina area and randomized to a lifestyle intervention (n=250) or standard care (n=250). The lifestyle intervention, grounded in Social Cognitive Theory, will target regular body weight self-monitoring and increasing PA and healthy dietary practices in pregnancy and postpartum. The lifestyle program will start within 15 wks gestation and will continue through 6 mos postpartum. All women will be assessed early in pregnancy (≤13 wks), at 32 wks gestation, and at 6- and 12-mos postpartum, and offspring will be assessed at 6- and 12-mos.