Pregnancy :: Effects of exercise on pregnant women with gestational diabetes

Lisa Chasan-Taber, associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, is launching a study of the effects of exercise programs on pregnant women with a history of gestational diabetes ? a condition triggered by pregnancy that puts them at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.

A five-year, $2.24 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) will fund a team of researchers headed by Chasan-Taber that is investigating the effects of a motivationally tailored, individually targeted 12-week physical activity program on risk of recurrent gestational diabetes (GDM) among women with a history of the condition.

?Focusing on women who have had gestational diabetes provides us with an excellent opportunity to intervene years before the development of type 2 diabetes,? Chasan-Taber says. ?Pregnancy is a special time for women when they may be interested in adopting new behaviors. This new study builds upon our current work studying the causes of gestational diabetes and moves forward into preventing the consequences of this disease. This is particularly important as the prevalence of diabetes continues to rise worldwide.?

Chasan-Taber will work with UMass scientists Edward J. Stanek III, professor of biostatistics and epidemiology, and Associate Professor Barry S. Braun and Assistant Professor David Marquez of kinesiology. They will enroll and follow 364 prenatal care patients from Baystate Medical Center in Springfield. Investigators from Brown University will also be involved in the design and administration of the intervention.

This study builds upon a five-year grant Chasan-Taber currently has, also from the NIH/NIDDK which studies how physical activity and psychosocial stress affect the risk of GDM among Latinas.

The goals of this latest proposal also include encouraging pregnant women to achieve the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) guidelines for physical activity during pregnancy (30 minutes or more of moderate-intensity activity on most days of the week) through increasing walking and developing a more active lifestyle.

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