Abstract

Regular physical activity (PA) in pregnancy can benefit the pregnant woman through a shorter birth and a shorter recovery period. The study aimed to investigate the effect of PA in pregnancy, on maternal and offspring health indicators. Population-based data were obtained from a national database that included anthropometric and physical fitness data of almost all Greek children 8 to 9 years. Α random sample of 5,125 dyads of mothers-children was evaluated. Telephone interviews were carried out with the use of a standardized questionnaire for the collection of maternal lifestyle factors. Children born to mothers who participated in the recommended PA levels had lower odds (OR=0.78, 95% CI: 0.69-0.95) to be overweight/obese in childhood. Adequate PA levels in pregnancy were found to be associated with lower odds of preterm birth by 61% (OR = 0.39, 95% CI: 0.17-0.87), and alcohol consumption in pregnancy by 62% (OR = 0.38, 95% CI: 0.27-0.56) as compared to the inadequate level of PA. Also, mothers with adequate PA in pregnancy had decreased odds for excessive GWG and final BMI by almost 40% in comparison to those with inadequate PA levels. PA in pregnancy does seem to be related to offspring health indicators (e.g. obesity at 8 years) and is associated with a more favorable maternal health profile.

Keywords

Physical activity Pregnancy Health Mother Children

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