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Matern Child Health J. 2011 May;15(4):514-9. doi: 10.1007/s10995-010-0586-7.

The association between gestational diabetes mellitus and recreational physical activity.

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Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, University at Buffalo, SUNY, School of Public Health and Health Professions, Buffalo, NY, USA.


We aimed to investigate the association of recreational physical activity before pregnancy with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). A cross-sectional study was performed using self-reported data from the Pregnancy Risk Assessment and Monitoring System. The study population included 1,052 self-reported GDM cases and 10,351 non-GDM controls. Recreational physical activity in the 3 months before pregnancy was recalled in postpartum structured interviews. Compared to women exercising less than 1 day per week, women who exercised >5 days per week in the 3 months before pregnancy had a 31% lower odds of GDM (adjusted odds ratio [aOR]: 0.69; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.46, 1.03). Women who exercised 1-4 days per week had a 7% lower odds of GDM (aOR: 0.93; 95%CI: 0.72, 1.19). We did not observe statistically significant associations between pre-pregnancy physical activity and GDM risk. However, the magnitude and direction of association are consistent with previous observational studies. These studies collectively suggest a role of physical activity in GDM prevention.

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