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Gestational diabetes risk cut by exercise says study

By Editor
3rd April 2018

The risk of gestational diabetes can be reduced by 21 per cent through exercise, a US study has found.

Researchers from the University of Iowa made the conclusion after analysing data from 1,333 women from 1985 to 2011, who enrolled in a National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute study called Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA).

The women completed seven study visits, informing the researchers of their pregnancy status and then also took part in a fitness test.

Overall, 164 women developed gestational diabetes, with the researchers determining that pre-pregnant women with high levels of fitness had a 21 per cent lower risk of developing gestational diabetes than those with lower fitness levels.

The longitudinal analysis was published in the Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise journal.

Kara Whitaker, assistant professor at the university’s Department of Health and Human Physiology and corresponding author on the study, said: “Women are very careful during pregnancy with what they eat and the exercise they get. But the study shows women should engage in these healthy behaviors before they get pregnant as well.

“We would expect to see this reduction in gestational diabetes risk if women had moderate improvements in fitness – going from fair to good fitness, for example. The main point is, it’s important to get in better shape before you get pregnant.”

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