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Almost 17 Percent of Women Obese Nine Months Post-Delivery
Obesity linked to increasing parity in lower income, but not higher income households

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Obesity occurs among about 17 percent of women nine months following delivery, and is associated with increasing parity in socioeconomically disadvantaged women, according to a study published in the August issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Michael J. Turner, M.B., B.Ch., from the Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital, and Richard Layte, Ph.D., from the Economic and Social Research Institute, both in Dublin, sampled a national cohort of 10,524 mothers (mean age, 31.6 years) who were participants in the Growing Up in Ireland Study Infant Cohort at nine months following delivery. Trained fieldworkers interviewed the participants with validated questionnaires. At the postpartum interview, weight and height measurements were completed and body mass index was calculated.

The researchers found that mean body mass index after delivery was 25.7 ± 5.4 kg/m² and that 16.8 percent of the women were obese. Smoking, lower household income, African nationality, earlier completion of full-time education, gestational weight gain, shorter breastfeeding duration, and increasing parity correlated positively with postpartum maternal obesity levels in univariate analyses. Maternal obesity remained associated with increasing parity in lower income households, but not in higher income households in multivariable analysis.

"Public health interventions that are aimed at decreasing obesity levels after childbirth should prioritize women who are disadvantaged socioeconomically," the authors write.

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