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The Effects of Physical Activity and Sedentary Behavior Across Pregnancy on Early Childhood Growth and Development

Jones, Melissa (2020) The Effects of Physical Activity and Sedentary Behavior Across Pregnancy on Early Childhood Growth and Development. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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There is evidence to support that early life exposures are related to health outcomes across the lifespan. Whether maternal activity behaviors during pregnancy may impact early childhood health remains unknown. Methods: This follow-up study recruited mothers with objective measurement of sedentary behavior and MVPA across pregnancy from a previous cohort study. Offspring anthropometrics from all pediatric visits from birth to 24 months were abstracted from children’s medical records (n=60). Motor development was parent-reported on the Early Motor Questionnaire (EMQ) and by age of crawling and walking onset (n=70). Childhood growth was analyzed as dichotomous catch-up growth (increase in BMI z-score >2.0 between birth and 12-months) and growth rate (incremental rate of BMI z-score change up to 24-months). Logistic regression models examined the associations of maternal activity with risk for catch-up growth. Mixed linear models examined associations of maternal activity with growth rate. Linear regression models examined the associations between maternal activity and EMQ scores, crawling, and walking onset age. Maternal activity was the independent variable in all models and analyzed in two ways: trimester-specific and across pregnancy using trajectory groups. Adjustment for BMI z-score at birth was added to each model to evaluate whether birth size attenuated associations. Results: Higher maternal MVPA was related to a greater risk for catch-up growth (p<0.03), more rapid growth (p<0.02), more advanced motor development (p<0.03) and, in the second trimester only, later age of crawling onset (p=0.048). Higher maternal sedentary time was related to more
rapid growth rate (p=0.001) but not catch-up growth or motor development. Associations between maternal MVPA and catch-up growth were attenuated by adjustment for BMI z-score at birth, while associations of MVPA with motor development were unchanged. Conclusion: Our findings identify a modifiable prenatal exposure which may impact health risk of the offspring. While MVPA may improve motor development in early childhood, the increased risk for catch-up growth elicits further investigation. Higher sedentary behavior being related to more rapid childhood growth reinforces the need for more sedentary behavior research and consideration of recommendations for pregnant women. Overall, maternal activity profile shows promise as a modifiable behavior to improve intergenerational health.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Jones, Melissamaj133@pitt.edumaj1330000-0002-7919-5247
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairBarone Gibbs, Bethanybbarone@pitt.edubbarone0000-0002-0732-6148
Committee MemberDavis, Kelliannkelli.davis@pitt.edukkd20000-0003-3900-5063
Committee MemberRoss, Sharonseross@pitt.eduseross0000-0002-3556-598X
Committee MemberLibertus, KlausKlaus.Libertus@pitt.edukll600000-0002-5178-2415
Date: 17 December 2020
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 7 August 2020
Approval Date: 17 December 2020
Submission Date: 10 November 2020
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 113
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Health and Physical Activity
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: DOHaD, maternal-child health, actigraphy, activPAL,
Date Deposited: 17 Dec 2020 19:27
Last Modified: 17 Dec 2020 19:27

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