Healthy lifestyle may cut gestational diabetes cases by half

Healthy lifestyle habits—maintaining a normal weight, not smoking, and staying physically active—may help prevent about half of all diabetes cases that develop in pregnant women, according to a new study.

Looking at data from more than 14,000 American women, the researchers found that the strongest risk factor for gestational diabetes was being overweight or obese during pregnancy; these women had four times greater risk than women with normal pre-pregnancy weights, according to an October 1, 2014 HealthDay article about the study. Women who had all of the healthy lifestyle behaviors—a normal weight, healthy eating, exercise and no smoking—were 83 percent less likely to develop gestational diabetes than those with none of those habits.

Senior author of the study, published September 30, 2014 in BMJ (British Medical Journal), was Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health. Other authors from the School included Jorge Chavarro, assistant professor of nutrition and epidemiology; and research fellows Deirdre Tobias, Dong Wang, and Sylvia Ley.

Read the HealthDay article: Healthy Lifestyle Before Pregnancy May Cut Gestational Diabetes Risk

Read the abstract: Adherence to healthy lifestyle and risk of gestational diabetes mellitus: prospective cohort study

Learn more

Prenatal and Early Life Influences (Harvard School of Public Health Obesity Prevention Source)