Analyzing the Key Functions of Peer Support in Postpartum Weight Management Interventions: A Review of the Literature Public Deposited

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  • November 18, 2019
  • Slough, Laurel
    • Affiliation: Gillings School of Global Public Health, Department of Maternal and Child Health
  • Overview: Currently in the United States, nearly two-thirds of women are entering pregnancy either overweight or obese. Additionally, many of these women gain more than the recommend amount of weight during pregnancy and often retain excess weight after delivery. Systematic reviews have been conducted in the past on the effectiveness of various behavioral interventions to manage weight postpartum. These reviews have had inconclusive results, so this review was conducted for the purpose of identifying the key functions of peer support in postpartum weight loss interventions. The rationale for exploring peer support is that this framework has been effective in achieving desirable health outcomes in diabetes prevention and management programs. Methods: A systematic review was conducted to analyze postpartum weight loss studies that used behavioral interventions including diet, physical activity, group education, or counseling. Only studies published after 2009 were included as this is the year the Institute of Medicine changed its gestational weight gain guidelines. CINAHL and PUBMED were searched with fifteen studies meeting inclusion criteria. Studies were evaluated for baseline characteristics and general outcomes and more specifically analyzed for the key functions of peer support. Results: The fifteen studies reviewed varied greatly in their use of peer support and in the four key functions of peer support: assistance in daily management of weight loss postpartum, social and emotional support for behavior change, connection to clinical care, and long-term support. No study explicitly relied on traditional peer supporters, or postpartum women from the same community, to facilitate weight loss postpartum. Discussion: Although peer support has shown efficacy in diabetes prevention and management, this framework has not been utilized for postpartum weight interventions. There a many opportunities for the maternal and child health workforce to leverage peer support in policy development, practice improvements, and research.
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Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Paper type: Review
  • Sullivan, Catherine
  • Master of Science in Public Health
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Graduation year
  • 2015
Deposit record
  • 3721d0b6-28ec-43e2-9df8-71842a77b340

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