Focusing on Excessive Gestational Weight Gain through Weight Tracking Among Participants of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) in Southern California
Background and Purpose: Studies have shown that maternal obesity and excessive gestational weight gain (GWG) lead to adverse health outcomes for the mother and her offspring. Yet, knowledge of the best way to intervene is still lacking. The objective of this study was to develop, pilot and evaluate a sustainable intervention to prevent excessive GWG among participants of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) in southern California. Methods: We conducted a prospective cohort study where the intervention group received an individual education program that included a GWG tracker. The historical control group was a group of women from the same WIC site who gave birth before the start of the intervention, therefore did not receive the intervention. Chi-square tests and t-tests were used to compare characteristics of the control and intervention groups and the proportions of women exceeding the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommendations for GWG. Results: The impact of the intervention was strongest for overweight women. 62.5% of the control group gained more than the recommended amount compared to 48.6% in the intervention group. Conclusion: A simple weight tracking intervention could be a cost-neutral way to help WIC participants avoid excessive GWG.