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Informing a healthy eating and physical activity program to decrease postnatal weight retention: What are women experiencing and what type of program do they want?

journal contribution
posted on 2023-02-10, 03:59 authored by SA Wilkinson, S Guyatt, Jane WillcoxJane Willcox
Issue addressed: Retention of weight gained during pregnancy contributes to overweight and obesity and consequent chronic disease risk. Early programs have been successful in improving diet quality, physical activity levels and reducing postnatal weight retention. However, barriers to program engagement remain. This study aimed to investigate women's healthy eating, physical activity and weight experiences and explore their views regarding digital health interventions to assist meeting their lifestyle goals. Methods: This qualitative descriptive study utilised semi-structured interviews with women who had recently become mothers who had gestational diabetes or a body mass index above 25 kg/m2. Themes were then identified through thematic analysis of interview transcripts. Results: Nine women were interviewed (average age 33.4 ± 4.2 years). The two distinct areas of questioning resulted in two overarching topics: (i) Enablers and barriers to maintaining regular physical activity and a healthy dietary pattern; and (ii) characteristics of a postpartum program to enable meeting of diet, physical activity and weight loss goals. These topics each had their own descriptive themes and sub-themes. Conclusions: Understanding women's needs and viewpoints for a postnatal diet, physical activity and weight program allows researchers to design a program to maximise engagement and outcomes. So what?: Any further postnatal program must leverage off existing infrastructure, integrate learnings from published formative work and harnesses the impact of digital delivery. This will improve program accessibility and provide ongoing contact for sustained behaviour change through text messaging and providing digital resources in a dynamic format women can engage with in their own time.



Health Promotion Journal of Australia











Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal