Health Behaviors Among Women of Reproductive Age With and Without a History of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus

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To estimate the prevalence of several health-related behaviors among women of reproductive age with and without a history of gestational diabetes mellitus (hGDM).


We performed a cross-sectional study using the 2001–2003 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a national population-based random sample telephone survey. Participants were 177,420 women aged 18–44 years with and without self-reported hGDM. Outcome measures included meeting physical activity and fruit and vegetable guidelines, sedentary activity level, and current smoking.


Approximately 3% (n = 4,718) of women aged 18–44 years reported physician-diagnosed hGDM. Women with hGDM had higher BMIs, were significantly older, were less often educated or employed, and were more often Hispanic or African American, married, and living with children. Women with hGDM reported worse self-rated health than women without hGDM. In unadjusted and multivariate adjusted comparisons, there were no significant differences in levels of physical activity, fruit and vegetable consumption, or smoking among women with and without hGDM. However, women with hGDM who lived with children were significantly less likely to meet fruit and vegetable consumption guidelines (odds ratio 0.78 [95% CI 0.63–0.97]; P < 0.05) and more likely to smoke (1.21 [1.01–1.47]; P < 0.05) than their counterparts without hGDM.


Despite their elevated risk for future diabetes, women with hGDM who lived with children were less likely to meet fruit and vegetable consumption guidelines and more likely to smoke than women with children who did not have hGDM.

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