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Obstet Gynecol. 1995 Nov;86(5):834-8.

The relationship between diet, activity, and other factors, and postpartum weight change by race.

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School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, USA.



To identify the impact of dietary intake and activity level on postpartum weight change.


White (n = 121) and black (n = 224) women, 7-12 months postpartum, participating in the Special Supplemental Feeding Program for Women, Infants, and Children were assessed for dietary intake, activity level, body weight, and other maternal characteristics.


For both black and white women, the most important variables in predicting postpartum weight loss were pre-pregnancy weight, gestational weight gain, parity, and prenatal exercise. After these factors were controlled, race predicted that black women retained 6.4 lb more than white women. These results may be due to the finding that black women reported significantly higher mean energy intake (2039 versus 1552 kcal, P < .001), higher percent fat in diet (41 versus 38%, P < .001), and significantly lower amounts of prenatal and postpartum activity.


Higher energy intake and lower activity levels in black postpartum mothers compared with white mothers may contribute to the significantly higher rates of obesity found in black mothers. This study suggests the need for intervention strategies in the prenatal and postpartum periods to help those at risk of retaining weight gained during pregnancy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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