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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

WashU: “Parents as Teachers” Helps Control Weight Gain Among At-Risk Pregnant Women

Providing a home-based lifestyle intervention effectively minimizes excess weight gain during pregnancy and through 12 months postpartum in underserved African-American women with obesity, according to a new study from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis.

“We’ve found that lifestyle interventions delivered through Parents as Teachers, a national home visiting organization, provide sustainable, scalable and effective weight management for underserved African-American women with overweight or obesity issues,” said first author Dr. Debra Haire-Joshu, the Joyce Wood Professor at the Brown School and an expert on interventions to reduce obesity and prevent diabetes among underserved women and children.

The study evaluated group differences between the standard Parents as Teachers curriculum and Parents as Teachers Plus, a lifestyle intervention embedded within the standard curriculum prenatally and for 12 months postpartum. “Compared with the standard Parents as Teachers group, we found that the lifestyle intervention group gained less weight and was more likely to return to baseline weight from baseline to one year postpartum with minimal additional cost,” Dr. Haire-Joshu and colleagues wrote.

She noted that Parents as Teachers, which has more than 3,200 sites across the United States, provides a sustainable and scaleable program that helps provide effective weight management intervention for this high-risk population.

The findings were published March 22 the journal Obesity.

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