1University of Massachusetts Boston, Boston, United States, 2University of Rhode Island, Kingston, United States, 3University of Massachusetts Lowell, Boston, United States
Introduction: Pregnancy is a critical life stage for promoting health and preventing diseases. Maintaining or adopting healthy behaviors (e.g., diet, physical activity, etc.) during pregnancy has the potential to prevent excessive gestational weight gain (GWG) and associated adverse health risks during pregnancy and beyond. Pregnancy is a time when many women are motivated to improve their health behaviors for their infants’ health. It is also a time when women are more likely to seek health information to answer questions about pregnancy, their health, and that of their offspring. Pregnant women’s access to evidence-based information about GWG, diet, and physical activity (PA) is key to their achieving healthy GWG, and, ultimately, the prevention of obesity-related diseases for both the mother and her newborn. Objective: This cross-sectional study sought to assess sources of information about GWG, diet, and PA among pregnant Central American immigrants in the United States (U.S.). Results: Ninety-three immigrant women, 46.2% (n=43) Guatemalans, 31.2% (n=29) Salvadorans, and 22.6% (n=21) Hondurans participated in the study. Approximately 59% reported having lived in the U.S. for more than 10 years, and more than two-thirds (76.3%) were classified as having low acculturation levels (SASH < 2.99). Overall, 67.7%, 74.2%, and 64.5% of women reported receiving advice about GWG, diet, and PA, respectively from a healthcare provider (doctor or midwife) during pregnancy. Additionally, respondents had sought information about GWG (57%), diet (69.9%), and PA (64.5 %) via the Internet. Women classified as having low acculturation levels were more likely to seek information about GWG via the Internet than those with high acculturation levels after adjusting for age and receiving information about GWG from a healthcare provider (doctor or midwife). Moreover, many respondents reported seeking information about GWG (73.1% and 73.1%), diet (67.7% and 74.2%), and PA (61.3% and 59.1%) from family members and friends, respectively. Conclusions: Findings have implications for the design of interventions and suggest the potential of mHealth intervention as a low-cost, easy-access option for delivering culturally and linguistically tailored evidencebased information about GWG incorporating behavioral change practices to this large immigrant group.
Keywords: central americans, immigrant, gestational weight gain, pregnancy.