Preventing excessive gestational weight gain among African American women: A randomized clinical trial

Obesity (Silver Spring). 2016 Jan;24(1):30-6. doi: 10.1002/oby.21240. Epub 2015 Nov 23.


Objective: Evidence is lacking regarding effective weight control treatments in pregnancy for ethnic minority women with obesity. This study evaluated whether a technology-based behavioral intervention could decrease the proportion of African American women with overweight or obesity who exceeded Institute of Medicine (IOM) guidelines for gestational weight gain.

Methods: We conducted a two-arm pilot randomized clinical trial. Participants were 66 socioeconomically disadvantaged African American pregnant women (12.5 ± 3.7 weeks' gestation; 36% overweight, 64% obesity) recruited from two outpatient obstetric practices at Temple University between 2013 and 2014. We randomized participants to usual care (n = 33) or a behavioral intervention (n = 33) that promoted weight control in pregnancy. The intervention included: (1) empirically supported behavior change goals; (2) interactive self-monitoring text messages; (3) biweekly health coach calls; and (4) skills training and support through Facebook.

Results: The intervention reduced the proportion of women who exceeded IOM guidelines compared to usual care (37% vs. 66%, P = 0.033). Intervention participants gained less weight during pregnancy (8.7 vs. 12.3 kg, adjusted mean difference: -3.1 kg, 95% CI: -6.2 to -0.1). No group differences in neonatal or obstetric outcomes were found.

Conclusions: The intervention resulted in lower prevalence of excessive gestational weight gain.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • African Americans* / statistics & numerical data
  • Behavior Therapy* / methods
  • Body Weight
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Overweight / ethnology
  • Overweight / prevention & control*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / ethnology
  • Pregnancy Complications / prevention & control*
  • Prevalence
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Weight Gain*
  • Young Adult