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Am J Prev Med. 2007 Apr;32(4):305-11.

Television, walking, and diet: associations with postpartum weight retention.

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  • 1Obesity Prevention Program, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02215, USA.



For many women, pregnancy begets long-term weight gain. Modifiable behaviors that contribute to postpartum weight retention have not been well studied.


Prospective cohort study of 902 women enrolled in Project Viva, examining associations of postpartum television viewing, walking, and trans fat intake with weight retention equal to or greater than 5 kg at 12 months postpartum. Data were collected in 1999-2003 and analyzed in 2005-2006.


At 6 months postpartum, women reported a mean (SD) of 1.7 (1.3) hours of television viewing, 0.7 (0.7) hours of walking, and 1.1% (0.5) of energy intake from trans fat per day. At 1 year, participants retained a mean of 0.6 kg (range: -17.3 to 25.5), and 12% retained at least 5 kg. In multivariate logistic regression models, adjusting for maternal sociodemographics, parity, prepregnancy body mass index, gestational weight gain, breastfeeding, and smoking, the odds ratio of retaining at least 5 kg was 1.24 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.06-1.46) per daily hour of television viewing, 0.66 (95% CI: 0.46-0.94) per daily hour of walking, and 1.33 (95% CI: 1.09-1.62) per 0.5% increment in daily energy intake from trans fat. Women who watched less than 2 hours of television, walked at least 30 minutes, and consumed trans fat below the median had an odds ratio of 0.23 (95% CI: 0.08-0.66) of retaining at least 5 kg.


Postpartum television viewing, walking, and trans fat intake were associated with weight retention. Interventions to modify these behaviors may help reduce excess postpartum weight gain and prevent obesity among women.

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