Research Study Abstract

Association of physical activity and sedentary behavior with biological markers among U.S. pregnant women

  • Published on Aug. 22, 2013

Background To examine the association between objectively measured light-intensity and moderate-to-vigorous-intensity physical activity (MVPA), sedentary behaviors, and biological markers in a national sample of U.S. pregnant women, as few studies have examined these relationships among this population.

Methods The sample of noninstitutionalized U.S. civilians was selected by a complex, multistage probability design. Data from the 2003-2006 National Health and Examination Survey were used. Two hundred six pregnant women were included in the data analysis. Physical activity and sedentary data were objectively measured via accelerometry (ActiGraph 7164). Biomarker data was obtained in the mobile examination center from urine, blood samples, blood pressure, and anthropometric measurements. Urine and blood samples were obtained to determine pregnancy status, C-reactive protein (CRP), high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, total cholesterol, and cotinine as well as fasting glucose, fasting triglycerides, and fasting low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol data. Multivariable regression was employed to examine the association between physical activity, sedentary behavior, and biomarker levels.

Results There was a positive association between sedentary behavior and CRP levels (beta coefficient [b]=0.001, p=0.02) and LDL cholesterol (b=0.12, p=0.02). There was an inverse association between light-intensity physical activity and CRP (b=-0.003; p=0.008) and diastolic blood pressure (b=-0.03; p=0.02), with those engaging in higher levels of MVPA having higher HDL cholesterol (b=6.7; p=0.01).

Conclusion Physical activity and sedentary behavior were favorably associated with various biomarkers among pregnant women, suggesting that healthcare providers should encourage pregnant women to participate in safe forms of physical activity behaviors while also reducing their amount of time spent in sedentary behaviors.


  • Loprinzi, Paul D
  • Fitzgerald, Elizabeth M
  • Woekel, Erica
  • Cardinal, Bradley J.


  • 1 Department of Exercise Science, Donna and Allan Lansing School of Nursing and Health Sciences, Bellarmine University , Louisville, Kentucky


Journal of Women's Health


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