One In Three Women Become Overweight After Pregnancy, Study Finds

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Women’s fears that pregnancy weight won’t be last after giving birth have been confirmed, according to research suggesting three-quarters of new mothers are heavier a year after giving birth than before becoming pregnant.

The study, conducted by the University of Chicago, analyzed 800 low-income women and concluded that one-third of those who were normal weight before pregnancy became overweight following the birth of their child. One in four women had retained more than 20 extra pounds.

“This unfortunately showed that pregnancy itself is leading to obesity or [being] overweight for a substantial number of women,” Dr. Loraine Endres, study author, said.

Endres said the issue is important because the number of obese people in America is rising. She noted that the health issues associated with obesity range from diabetes to high blood pressure, but added that the origin of obesity for women is sometimes non-specific.

“I really wanted to see where this is starting for women and to see if there is any way to turn it around,” Endres said.

To accumulate data, nearly 800 women from five locations around the country were interviewed three times by the 12-month mark after childbirth. Height and weight measurements were taken at six and 12 months after birth. While pregnant, women gained an average of 32 pounds and weighed nearly 173 pounds a year after childbirth.

Breast-feeding and moderate exercise were found to increase weight loss after pregnancy. Endres argued that the “eating for two” phrase is a myth, and that women should only eat an extra 300 to 400 calories per day.

Endres admitted that the type of women interviewed could have influenced the findings, since low-income women have less access to a gym or less money for it. She also noted that the women interviewed might not even have had a safe neighborhood to walk or jog in.

Source: Philly.com


 
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