A review of the health beliefs and lifestyle behaviors of women with previous gestational diabetes

J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs. Sep-Oct 2009;38(5):516-26. doi: 10.1111/j.1552-6909.2009.01051.x.

Abstract

Objective: To critically review and synthesize original research designed to examine the health beliefs, including risk perceptions and health behaviors related to diet and physical activity of women with previous gestational diabetes mellitus.

Data sources: PubMed and CINAHL databases were searched for studies published in the last decade (1998-2008) that examined variables related to the health beliefs and behaviors of women with previous gestational diabetes mellitus. Keyword searches included health beliefs, health behaviors, perceived risk, gestational diabetes, type 2 diabetes, diet, physical activity, and postpartum.

Study selection: Eight articles, representing 6 studies, were selected that met the inclusion criteria of original research, dependent variable of health beliefs and behaviors of women with previous gestational diabetes mellitus, and measurement after pregnancy.

Data extraction: Articles were reviewed and discussed according to the concepts of risk perception and health beliefs, health behaviors related to diet and physical activity, and psychosocial factors related to women's health beliefs and behaviors.

Data synthesis: Data revealed common health beliefs and behaviors of women with previous gestational diabetes mellitus, including low risk perceptions for future type 2 diabetes mellitus and suboptimal levels of physical activity and fruit and vegetable intake. The majority of studies revealed a distinct knowledge-behavior gap among women with previous gestational diabetes mellitus, whereas others revealed a lack of knowledge regarding necessary lifestyle modifications.

Conclusions: Findings from this review may assist women's health researchers and clinicians in developing appropriate interventions for increasing risk awareness, promoting self-efficacy for weight loss and physical activity behaviors, and decreasing rates of diabetes and cardiovascular disease among women with previous gestational diabetes mellitus. Further research is necessary to identify factors that influence the health beliefs and behaviors of women with previous gestational diabetes mellitus. Future research should focus on populations of greater racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic diversity, as the majority of studies have been conducted with non-Hispanic White, socioeconomically advantaged women.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Attitude to Health*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Cost of Illness
  • Diabetes, Gestational* / prevention & control
  • Diabetes, Gestational* / psychology
  • Diet / psychology
  • Exercise / psychology
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Models, Psychological
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Pregnancy
  • Research Design
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Risk Reduction Behavior
  • Self Efficacy
  • Women / education
  • Women / psychology*