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Healthy Lifestyle Lowers Risk for Gestational Diabetes by 52%

Oct 17, 2014


Adherence to healthy lifestyle during pregnancy is associated with a lower risk of gestational diabetes….
In a prospective cohort study, researchers looked at data on 14,437 women who participated in the Nurses’ Health Study II. Data was collected from the years of 1989-2001. Participants were aged 24 to 44 years and had no chronic diseases. The study gathered data on weight (BMI), diet, level of physical activity, and smoking status to determine the effects on risk for gestational diabetes.
The strongest association was seen between BMI >25 before the pregnancy and risk for developing gestational diabetes. Women with BMI <25 before the pregnancy showed lowered risk of gestational diabetes by 52% (RR=0.48, 95% CI, 0.38-0.61), besides the three low-risk factors. Overall, the risk for developing gestational diabetes was lowered by 41% for women with the three low-risk factors of non-smokers, moderate to vigorous physical activity ≥150 minutes a week, and healthy eating. Moreover, risk was lowered by 83% (RR=0.17; 95% CI, 0.12-0.25) in women meeting all four criteria.
In conclusion, this study shows that risk for gestational diabetes can be lowered if patients maintain a healthy lifestyle, including healthy diet, regular physical activity, abstinence to smoking, and healthy body weight.
Practice Pearls:
  • This study looked at the correlation between healthy lifestyle and gestational diabetes.
  • Researchers looked at four healthy lifestyle measurements: healthy body weight, healthy diet, regular physical activity, and abstinence from smoking.
  • The results showed that there was a lowered risk for gestational diabetes with all four measurements. The strongest association was seen between lowered BMI (<25) at 52%.
Zhang, Cuilin. “Adherence to Healthy Lifestyle and Risk of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus: Prospective Cohort Study.” BMJ 2014; 349 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g5450 (Published 30 September 2014).