Excessive Gestational Weight Gain and Subsequent Maternal Obesity at Age 40: A Hypothetical Intervention

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Abstract

Objectives

To model the hypothetical impact of preventing excessive gestational weight gain on midlife obesity and compare the estimated reduction with the US Healthy People 2020 goal of a 10% reduction of obesity prevalence in adults.

Methods

We analyzed 3917 women with 1 to 3 pregnancies in the prospective US National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, from 1979 to 2012. We compared the estimated obesity prevalence between 2 scenarios: gestational weight gain as reported and under the scenario of a hypothetical intervention that all women with excessive gestational weight gain instead gained as recommended by the Institute of Medicine (2009).

Results

A hypothetical intervention was associated with a significantly reduced estimated prevalence of obesity for first (3.3 percentage points; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.0, 5.6) and second (3.0 percentage points; 95% CI = 0.7, 5.2) births, and twice as high in Black as in White mothers, but not significant in Hispanics. The population attributable fraction was 10.7% (95% CI = 3.3%, 18.1%) in first and 9.3% (95% CI = 2.2%, 16.5%) in second births.

Conclusions

Development of effective weight-management interventions for childbearing women could lead to meaningful reductions in long-term obesity.

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