Newsletter Article

Exercise, obesity & diabetes during pregnancy

February 2016

Exercise during pregnancy is important for the health of both baby and mother. For women, regular exercise can reduce the risk of gestational diabetes, excessive weight gain, and the odds of a cesarean delivery.[1, 2] Regular exercise can also reduce the likelihood of having a large newborn (higher than the 90th percentile) without increasing the risk of having a small newborn (less than the 10th percentile).

A woman who is diagnosed with gestational diabetes has a much higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.[3] Over the the next 10 – 20 years, she has a 30 – 60% risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and the odds of her child developing type 2 diabetes later in life are also increased.Being active both before and during pregnancy can help reduce immediate and long term risks for both the women and the child.

A new study has shown a possible link between diabetes, obesity, and autism. A review of data collected between 1998 and 2014 on a subset of the Boston Birth Cohort found that women who were obese and diabetic both before and during pregnancy had an increased risk of an offspring with autism spectrum disorder.[4] There was a similar pattern of an increased risk for having a child with intellectual disabilities.

Because gestational diabetes puts women at a higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes and other complications, it is important to explore interventions that can help protect against this progression. In another recent study, women who had developed gestational diabetes were put on an exercise and nutrition program.[5] Compared to the control group, there were significant changes in physical activity and eating behaviors among the intervention group. These are promising results, but more research needs to be done to determine the long term efficacy of these behavior changes.

Healthy behaviors are important both before and during pregnancy. With serious complications and risk associated with gestational diabetes, regular exercise and proper nutrition can make a dramatic difference in the health of both mothers and babies.


Oysters are bivalve mollusks that attach themselves to shells or other hard surfaces near the bottom of the ocean and get their food by pumping water through their systems and filtering out small particles and organisms. There are over 200 species of oysters, however most are too small to harvest for food. Only a few species of oyster are commonly eaten, and they are typically cultivated in coastal waters that are monitored to ensure safety.[6]

Oysters are low in fat and a good source of protein.[7] Three ounces of oysters contain 8 grams of protein, 2 grams of fat, and about 630 mg of omega 3 fatty acids.They also contain several beneficial minerals and vitamins, including selenium, zinc, iron, magnesium, and B vitamins.

Research has shown that some of the nutrients found in oysters may improve liver function. A recent study examined adults with an alcohol drinking habit and elevated levels of serum γ-glutamyltransferase (GGT).[8] Alcoholic liver disease is characterized by high levels of GGT, along with several other changes in the liver. Half of the subjects took an oyster extract supplement, while the other group took a placebo. Both groups continued their normal drinking habits. At the end of the study, the oyster extract group had significantly lower levels of GGT compared to the placebo group, suggesting that oysters may offer some protection against certain types of liver disease brought on by alcohol.

Oysters are dense in nutrients and offer a variety of health benefits. This incredibly versatile mollusk can be eaten raw, steamed, baked, grilled, and fried, and with so many possibilities, there is sure to be an oyster dish that pleases your palate.

Broiled Oysters With Parmesan-Garlic Butter

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
2 dozen oysters in the shell Rock salt

1. Combine first 7 ingredients in a small bowl.
2. Shuck oysters. Discard the top shell; keep oysters in the deeper bottom shell, and place on a rimmed baking sheet filled to a depth of 1/2 inch with coarse salt. Dollop butter mixture evenly on oysters.
3. Broil oysters, 5 inches from heat, 5 to 7 minutes or until the edges of the oysters begin to curl and butter is bubbly.

Recipe from

Rock Climbing

Exercise, for many people, is something that only occurs inside a gym. However, outdoor activities can be just as beneficial for fitness and, in some cases, can yield better results. Rock climbing is an activity that is rapidly growing in popularity among young adults.

A recent study found that after 8 weeks of rock climbing, a group of previously sedentary subjects improved their body fat percentage, VO2max, muscular strength, and muscular endurance.[9] When comparing experienced rock climbers to experienced resistance trained men, a set of rock climbers performed better at relative upper body strength exercise measurements.[10] The rock climbers performed better at pull-ups, relative grip strength, and relative pinch strength. In a separate study, subjects were placed in either a rock climbing group or a fitness training group for 3 months.[11] For both groups, physical fitness improved, and anxiety significantly decreased after each session as well as at the end of the 3 months.

Rock climbing can offer both physical fitness and stress relieving benefits. This type of training shows that people aren’t restricted to just going to the gym for their well-being.

Health Matters is written by Lindsey Guthrie, MS, RD, LD/N and Tyler Guthrie, MS, CSCS.


  1. Elliott-Sale KJ, Barnett CT, Sale C. Exercise interventions for weight management during pregnancy and up to 1 year postpartum among normal weight, overweight and obese women: a systematic review and meta-analysis. British Journal of Sports Medicine. 2015; 49(20): 1336.
  2. Cordero Y , Mottola MF , Vargas J , Blanco M , Barakat R. Exercise Is Associated with a Reduction in Gestational Diabetes Mellitus. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 2015. 47(7): 1328.
  3. Prevent Type 2 Diabetes. What is my risk for diabetes?
  4. Li M, Fallin MD, Riley A, et al. The Association of Maternal Obesity and Diabetes With Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities. Pediatrics. 2016.
  5. Peacock AS, Bogossian FE, Wilkinson SA, et al. A randomised controlled trial to delay or prevent type 2 diabetes after gestational diabetes: Walking for exercise and nutrition to prevent diabetes for you. International Journal of Endocrinology. 2015.
  6. Seafood Health Facts. Oysters.
  7. SELF Nutrition Data. Mollusks, oyster, Pacific, raw.
  8. Osaki K, Shimizu Y, Yamamoto T, et al. Improvement of liver function by the administration of oyster extract as a dietary supplement to habitual alcohol drinkers: A pilot study. Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine. 2015; 10: 705.
  9. Aras D, Akalan C. Sport Rock climbing: As a type of physical activity to improve health-related physical fitness parameters. The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness. 2015.
  10. Macias KM, Brown LE, Coburn JW, Chen DD. A comparison of upper body strength between rock climbing and resistance trained men. Sports. 2015; 3(3): 178.
  11. Gallotta MC, Emerenziani GP, Monteiro MD, et al. Psychophysical benefits of rock-climbing activity. Perceptual and Motor Skills. 2015; 121: 675.