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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Preventing weight gain: the baseline weight related behaviors and delivery of a randomized controlled intervention in community based women

Catherine Lombard1*, Amanda Deeks1, Damien Jolley2 and Helena J Teede1

Author Affiliations

1 Jean Hailes Foundation for Women's Health Research Unit, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Locked Bag 29, Monash Medical Centre, Melbourne, 3168, Australia

2 Monash Institute of Health Services Research, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Locked Bag 29, Monash Medical Centre, Melbourne, 3168, Australia

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BMC Public Health 2009, 9:2  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-9-2

Published: 3 January 2009

Abstract

Background

Women aged 25–45 years represent a high risk group for weight gain and those with children are at increased risk because of weight gain associated with pregnancy and subsequent lifestyle change. Average self-reported weight gain is approximately 0.60 kg per year, and weight gain is associated with increased risk of chronic disease. There are barriers to reaching, engaging and delivering lifestyle interventions to prevent weight gain in this population.

Methods

This study investigated the baseline weight related behaviors and feasibility of recruiting and delivering a low intensity self-management lifestyle intervention to community based women with children in order to prevent weight gain, compared to standard education. The recruitment and delivery of the cluster-randomized controlled intervention was in conjunction with 12 primary (elementary) schools. Baseline data collection included demographic, anthropometric, behavioral and biological measures.

Results

Two hundred and fifty community based women were randomized as clusters to intervention (n = 127) or control (n = 123). Mean age was 40.4 years (SD 4.7) and mean BMI 27.8 kg/m2 (SD 5.6). All components of this intervention were successfully delivered and retention rates were excellent, 97% at 4 months.

Nearly all women (90%) reported being dissatisfied with their weight and 72% attempted to self-manage their weight. Women were more confident of changing their diet (mean score 3.2) than physical activity (mean score 2.7). This population perceived they were engaging in prevention behaviors, with 71% reporting actively trying to prevent weight gain, yet they consumed a mean of 68 g fat/day (SD30 g) and 27 g saturated fat/day (SD12 g) representing 32% and 13% of energy respectively. The women had a high rate of dyslipidemia (33%) and engaged in an average of 9187 steps/day (SD 3671).

Conclusion

Delivery of this low intensity intervention to a broad cross-section of community based women with children is feasible. Women with children are engaging in lifestyle behaviours which do not confer adequate health benefits. They appear to be motivated to attend prevention programs by their interest in weight management. Interventions are required to strengthen and sustain current attempts at achieving healthy lifestyle behaviours in women to prevent weight gain.

Trial Registration Number

ACTRN 12608000110381