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Scand J Public Health. 2011 Nov;39(7):730-41. doi: 10.1177/1403494811418279. Epub 2011 Sep 19.

Maternal and paternal self-rated health and BMI in relation to lifestyle in early pregnancy: the Salut Programme in Sweden.

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Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.



This study's aim was to increase knowledge about maternal and paternal self-rated health and body mass index in relation to lifestyle during early pregnancy.


Study subjects were expectant parents visiting antenatal care (2006-07) as part of the Salut Programme in northern Sweden. During early pregnancy, 468 females and 413 male partners completed questionnaires. The questions addressed sociodemography, self-rated general health, weight and height, satisfaction with weight, and lifestyle, such as dietary habits, physical activity, sleeping pattern, and alcohol, tobacco, and drug use.


Most rated their general health as good, very good, or excellent, although women less often than men (88% and 93%). The sex difference was more prominent when restricting the comparison to self-rated health being very good or excellent--49% of the women compared to 61% of the men. Being overweight or obese was common (53% of the men and 30% of the women). Few participants fulfilled the national recommendations with respect to a health-enhancing lifestyle; this was somewhat more common for women than men. Expectant parents with normal body mass index and vigorous physical activity were more likely to have very good or excellent self-rated health.


Most expectant parents perceived their general health as good, although this perception was less for women than men. Being overweight and having a non-health-enhancing lifestyle were more common for men than women. Thus, there is need for more powerful health-promoting interventions for expectant parents.

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