Physical activity and dietary intake among Chinese pregnant women: An observational study


Background: Physical activity (PA) and dietary intake are important modifiable factors associated with health outcomes. However, Chinese pregnant women's PA and dietary intake are only vaguely understood. The aim of this study was to reveal the characteristics of PA and dietary intake of Chinese women in different trimesters as well as the associations between PA and dietary intake. Methods: This is a cross-sectional observational study. PA, dietary intake, and demographics of 1077 Chinese pregnant women were measured. The Chi-square test, Kruskal-Wallis test, multiple logistic regression, and multiple linear regression were used for data analysis. Results: About 57.1% of the participants met the international guideline for PA. Household activity and occupational activity contributed the most to the total PA, while sports/exercise contributed little. The mean energy intake of the participants was 2008 ± 748.0 kcal. Most participants had normal energy intake, but they obtained excessive energy from fat (mean = 41.7 ± 8.7%). PA was not found to be significantly associated with dietary intake. Further, the participants who were unemployed during pregnancy (OR = 0.72, 95% CI: 0.55-0.95; p < 0.05) or had no exercise habits before pregnancy (OR = 0.62, 95% CI: 0.47-0.80; p < 0.01) were less likely to meet the PA guideline. The participants in the third trimester (OR = 1.43, 95% CI: 1.03-1.99; p < 0.05) were more likely to meet the PA guideline compared to those in the first trimester. The older participants (> 30 years) showed higher dietary intake than the younger (< 25 years) participants (p < 0.01). Conclusions: The total PA of Chinese women during pregnancy mostly consists of household and occupational activities, but little sports/exercise. Starting exercise before pregnancy may help women achieve adequate PA during pregnancy. Moreover, these women consumed an excessive amount of fat and their diet intake varies by age.

Publication Title

BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth