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Original Research

Diabetes risk reduction behaviours of rural postpartum women with a recent history of gestational diabetes

Submitted: 17 February 2010
Revised: 7 August 2010
Published: 9 November 2010

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Author(s) : Swan WE, Liaw S, Dunning T, Pallant JF, Kilmartin G.

Wendy SwanSiaw-Teng LiawTrisha DunningJulie PallantGloria Kilmartin

Citation: Swan WE, Liaw S, Dunning T, Pallant JF, Kilmartin G.  Diabetes risk reduction behaviours of rural postpartum women with a recent history of gestational diabetes. Rural and Remote Health (Internet) 2010; 10: 1461. Available: (Accessed 19 October 2017)


Introduction:  For most women, gestational diabetes is temporary; however, an episode of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) confers an approximately seven-fold increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes mellitus. Objective: To examine readiness to adopt diabetes risk reduction behaviours and the prevalence of these behaviours among rural women with GDM during their last pregnancy.
Methods: The study design was a self-administered mailed questionnaire seeking information about demographics, stage of change, physical activity level and dietary fat intake. Setting: Regional outpatient context. Participants: Women with a single episode of GDM between 1 July 2001 and 31 December 2005 (n = 210). Main outcome measures: Stage of change for physical activity, weight loss and reducing dietary fat behaviour; meeting activity targets, body mass index (BMI) and dietary fat score.
Results:  Eighty-four women returned completed questionnaires (40% response rate). Of the 77 women eligible (mean age 35 ± 3.8 years), 58% met recommended activity targets. Sixty-three percent of women were overweight or obese: mean BMI 29.6 kg/m2 (± 7.30). Women reported a high level of preparedness to engage in physical activity, weight loss and reduction of fat intake. Thirty-nine percent of women had not had any postpartum follow-up glucose screening. Women who remembered receiving diabetes prevention information were significantly more likely to meet physical activity targets (p<0.05).
Conclusions:  Readiness to engage in behaviour change was high among this group of rural women for all three diabetes risk reduction behaviours measured. However, despite a high proportion of women meeting activity targets and reducing fat intake, the majority of women remained overweight or obese. Postpartum follow-up glucose testing needs to be improved and the impact of diabetes prevention information provided during pregnancy warrants further study.

Key words:  diabetes prevention, obesity, physical activity, post partum, stage of change.

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