University of Jyväskylä

Dissertation: 1.12.2017 Physical activity during pregnancy and early childhood from the perspective of gestational diabetes risk and children’s body composition (Leppänen)

Start date: Dec 01, 2017 12:00 PM

End date: Dec 01, 2017 03:00 PM

Location: Seminaarinmäki, Old festival hall (S212)

Marja Leppänen
TtM Marja Leppänen defends her doctoral dissertation in Sports Medicine Physical Activity During Pregnancy and Early Childhood from the Perspective of Gestational Diabetes Risk and Children’s Body Composition. Opponent  Professor Päivi Rautava (University of Turku) and custos Professor Urho Kujala (University of Jyväskylä). The doctoral dissertation is held in Finnish. 


This study investigated the factors associated with self-reported leisure-time physical activity excluding household activities (LTPAexHH) among women at risk for gestational diabetes (GDM), change in self-reported LTPA including household activities (LTPAinHH) from pre-pregnancy to 7-year follow-up as well as the influence of risk for GDM on their children’s physical activity (PA) and body composition. The association between maternal and child PA, and associations of PA with body composition and physical fitness in preschoolers were also studied. A sample of 399 pregnant women at risk for GDM was examined in a cohort study, and 199 mother-child dyads were assessed in cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses based on a Finnish NELLI study. Additionally, samples of preschoolers were assessed in cross-sectional (n=307) and longitudinal analyses (n=138) based on a Swedish MINISTOP study. PA was evaluated using subjective (questionnaire) and objective (accelerometer) methods. Factors associated with LTPAexHH were collected with questionnaires and maternity cards. Body composition and physical fitness were assessed. The results showed that among women at risk for GDM self-reported pre-pregnancy LTPAexHH and social support were positively associated with self-reported LTPAexHH during pregnancy, whereas health-related issues and lack of time restricted it the most. The women at risk for GDM engaged less than peers in self-reported LTPAinHH over 7-year follow-up. Additionally, maternal objectively measured PA was associated with children’s PA at 7-year follow-up. Moreover, high-intensity PA was related to healthier body composition and better physical fitness in preschoolers. In conclusion, women’s PA before, during and after pregnancy seem to improve PA and body composition in two generations. Additionally, high-intensity PA at young ages may support long-term health benefits for childhood body composition and physical fitness.

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Marja Leppänen
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