Maternal Physical Activity During Pregnancy, Child Leisure-Time Activity, and Child Weight Status at 3 to 9 Years

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
Restricted access


We sought to evaluate the effects of maternal leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) during pregnancy and current child LTPA on child weight status.


Women with term pregnancies in the Pregnancy Outcomes and Community Health Study (1998–2004) were followed-up. A race-stratified subset of participants (cohort A) received extensive follow-up efforts leading to better response rates (592/926 = 64%) and diversity. The remainder (Cohort B) had a lower response rate (418/1629 = 26%). Women reported child height, weight and LTPA at 3 to 9 years (inactive vs. active), and recalled pregnancy LTPA (inactive vs. active). A 4-category maternal/child LTPA variable was created (reference: active pregnancy + active child). Children were classified as healthy weight, overweight, or obese using age- and sex-specific Body Mass Index percentiles. Logistic regression was used to assess the odds of child obesity (reference: healthy weight).


In unadjusted analyses, pregnancy inactivity increased odds for obesity when the child was active (1.6 [95% CI, 1.0−2.6] in Cohort A; 2.1 [95% CI, 1.1−4.0] in Cohort B), and more so when the child was inactive (2.4 [95% CI, 1.2−4.9] in Cohort A; 3.0 [95% CI, 1.0−8.8] in Cohort B). Adjustment for covariates attenuated results to statistical nonsignificance but the direction of relations remained.


Maternal inactivity during pregnancy may contribute to child obesity risk.

Mudd (, Pivarnik, and Pfeiffer are with the Dept of Kinesiology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI. Paneth and Holzman are with the Dept of Epidemiology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI. Chung is with the Dept of Statistics, Ewha Womans University, Seoul, South Korea.