Nutrition Education and Behavioral Science
Weight loss after gestational diabetes (GDM) significantly reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes (T2DM) however weight loss is not easily achieved or maintained. The purpose of this survey was to examine knowledge of future risk of T2DM after GDM, barriers to weight loss and to identify diet strategies that these women feel might work for them. Opinions of intermittent energy restriction (IER) were of particular interest.
Australian women aged ≥18 years who ever had GDM were invited to participate in this cross-sectional online survey. The survey was developed by a dietitian using the Theoretical Domains Framework and underwent expert review (n= 6) and piloted (n=20) prior to the final survey being run.
Results : There were 429 partial and 328 complete responses (age 37.2 ± 7.2 years, n=429, years post GDM 4.9 ± 6.3 years, n=428, BMI 30.9 ± 7.3 kg/m2 n=394). Overweight (n=110) or obese (n=200) responders mostly knew they were overweight and three-quarters thought they were either high (n=144, 33.6%) or moderate risk (n=176, 41.1%) for developing T2DM. Most women reported they knew what sorts of food to eat to lose weight (n=332, 86.7%), that their families would support them (n=320, 87%) and they were motivated to lose weight (n=213, 58.4%). The most common barriers were family responsibilities taking priority (n=240, 63%) and finding it hard to deal with hunger (n=206, 55.8%). Weight loss programs by a dietitian were popular as individual appointments (n=242, 65.1%) or an online program (n=200, 53.5%). Nearly three-quarters of responders had or would use the internet to seek weight loss information (n=308, 71.8%). Exercising was the most tried method of weight loss (n=234, 71.1%). Most women had heard of IER (the “5:2 diet”) (n=284, 73%) but only 34 had tried the diet. Of the women who hadn’t heard of the 5:2 diet, 51.5% (n=52) answered that it sounded like a good option and 15.8% (n=16) didn’t think the diet would suit them.
Despite most women reporting knowledge of their risk of T2DM, motivation to lose weight and family support, family responsibilities can make weight loss efforts difficult for mothers. Exercising, the 5:2 diet and use of the internet is an appealing option for some women however individual circumstances should be taken into consideration.
Funding Sources : The University of South Australia