Exercise participation before and during pregnancy among low-income, urban, Black women: the Baltimore Preterm Birth Study.
National data demonstrate that Black women have poorer health status, and greater risk of death from chronic diseases, than their White counterparts. Exercise can help prevent chronic disease, and adult Black women are less likely to engage in exercise than White women. However, few data are available about exercise among pregnant Black women. Pregnant Black women were enrolled in this study at hospital-based prenatal clinics in Baltimore, Maryland. Exercise before and during pregnancy were assessed at the first prenatal visit, along with exposure to stressors, depression, John Henryism Active Coping, and behavioral factors such as smoking. Among the 922 women in the sample, approximately three quarters reported engaging in exercise before pregnancy, and two thirds exercised during pregnancy. Most women engaged in non-strenuous exercise during pregnancy (56%) and exercised for > or = 20 minutes at least three times per week (80%). Exercise participation was significantly associated with higher levels of John Henryism Active Coping and lower levels of depression but was not significantly associated with behavioral factors or exposure to stressors. Prior research, based on older women, may have underestimated exercise participation by young Black women. These results suggest that Black women may decrease exercise participation after pregnancy and as they age. Encouraging Black women to continue to exercise as they age may have promising implications for the prevention of chronic diseases.
Orr, ST; James, SA; Garry, J; Newton, E
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