Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviors in Postpartum Latinas: Madres para la Salud

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To describe the physical activity (PA) and sedentary behaviors of postpartum Latinas who are overweight or obese before initiating Madres para la Salud, a social support–mediated walking intervention to promote postpartum weight loss.


One hundred thirty-nine postpartum women (13.6 ± 7.7 wk since childbirth, age = 28.3 ± 5.6 yr, BMI = 29.7 ± 3.5 kg·m−2; mean ± SD), recruited from organizations serving Latino residents in the Phoenix, Arizona, area completed the Stanford Brief Activity Survey and concurrently wore an accelerometer (ActiGraph) and a pedometer for 7 d and kept a PA record.


Most were classified as inactive and lightly active on the Stanford Brief Activity Survey (51% inactive, 37% light, 11% moderate). Most time was spent in sedentary (512.0 ± 169.9 min·d−1) and light-intensity PA (242.4 ± 51.4 min·d−1) with less time in moderate-intensity lifestyle (78.3 ± 39.9 min·d−1), moderate-intensity walking (16.6 ± 14.4 min·d−1), and vigorous-intensity PA (0.34 ± 1.5 min·d−1). Pedometer steps per day were low (total = 4973 ± 2202 steps, aerobic = 412 ± 774 steps), with most participants rated as sedentary (61%) or low active (28.1%). Consistent with objective PA measures, PA records showed more time spent in light-intensity PA such as home care, cooking, child care and self-care tasks, occupation, religious events, and watching television.


By and large, the postpartum Latinas enrolled spent most of their day in low-intensity activity levels with little time spent in health-enhancing PA levels/behaviors. This demographic should be the focus of PA interventions to increase PA to health-enhancing levels.

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