PREDICTORS OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY DURING PREGNANCY IN OVERWEIGHT AND OBESE WOMEN
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Background: Obesity is a nationwide problem. More and more women are overweight/obese during pregnancy. It is important to target behavioral interventions during pregnancy as women are more motivated to make behavioral changes, for the wellbeing of themselves and their baby. Physical activity is well established intervention to fight the problem of obesity. The purpose of this study is to find predictors of physical activity during pregnancy among overweight/obese women using the health belief model (HBM). The proposed predictors knowledge of risks of obesity during pregnancy, perceived susceptibility, and pre-pregnancy BMI measured the three constructs of the HBM, perceived severity, perceived susceptibility and perceived barriers respectively. Method: Secondary data analysis was performed on data collected from a previous study. Only overweight/obese pregnant women (N=164) from the sample were included in the study. The variables from the study were taken from the items on a questionnaire that the women completed in the original study. Descriptive analyses were performed to determine participant characteristics. Univariable analyses (t-tests and chi square tests) were performed to find any covariates from the demographic variables. Logistic regression was performed to determine if the independent variables, knowledge of obesity risk in pregnancy, perceived susceptibility to risk and pre-pregnancy BMI are the predictors of physical activity during pregnancy, controlling for any covariates. Results: Our results indicate that none of the proposed predictors have a significant relationship with the dependent variable. Discussion: Identifying predictors of physical activity (PA) during pregnancy can lead to informed behavioral interventions. This study uses only three constructs of the HBM to predict PA during pregnancy. Future studies should aim for a better design and reliable measures to find predictors of PA during pregnancy and should include variables that measure all constructs of the HBM.