Racial, Ethnic, and Socioeconomic Differences in the Incidence of Obesity Related to Childbirth

This study investigated the relationship between childbirth and five-year incidence of obesity. The authors performed a prospective analysis of data on 2,923 nonobese, nonpregnant women aged 14 to 22 years from the 1979 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth Cohort, which was followed from 1980 to 1990. Using a multivariable logistic regression analyses they determined the adjusted relative risk of obesity for mothers five years after childbirth, compared with women who did not have children. The five-year incidence of obesity was 11.3 per 100 parous women, compared with 4.5 per 100 nulliparous women. The five-year incidence of obesity was 8.6 for primiparous women and 12.2 for multiparous women. Among parous women, White women had the lowest obesity incidence (9.1 per 100 versus 15.1 per 100 for African Americans and 12.5 per 100 for Hispanics).

The study concludes that parous women have a higher incidence of obesity than do nulliparous women, and minority women have a higher incidence of parity-related obesity than do White women. Thus, efforts to reduce obesity should target postpartum women and minority women who give birth.