Associations Between Pregnancy-Related Complications, Work and Non-Work Physical Activity and Elevated Blood Pressure in Female Hospital Employees

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van de Ven-Dantes, Jane
Pregnancy complications , Physical activity , Cardiovascular disease
Abstract Objectives: To determine whether work and non-work physical activity (PA) modifies the relationship between pregnancy-related complications and future increased blood pressure (BP) in adult working women. Methods: Female full-time and part-time employees from a tertiary care hospital in South East Ontario (n = 330) provided demographic, PA and history of pregnancy complications information, and participated in anthropometric examination. Participants were classified according to BP status: 1) normal, defined as systolic blood pressure (SBP) < 120 mmHg and/or diastolic blood pressure (DBP) < 80 mmHg; and increased, defined as SBP ≥120 mmHg and/or DBP ≥ 80 mmHg or taking antihypertensive medication for BP control. Levels of PA and sedentary behaviour were calculated using the validated Global Physical Activity Questionnaire, which evaluates PA in the domains of work, transportation, and recreation. Results: Nineteen percent of the sample reported having a pregnancy-related complication. Thirty five percent of participants were classified as having increased BP. Logistic regression analysis determined that working women with a history of pregnancy complications had an increased risk of having elevated BP, after controlling for covariates such as age, waist circumference, family history of high BP, and marital status (OR 5.0, 95% CI 2.4-10.6). Although 49% of the sample met the World Health Organization’s PA recommendations, self-reported health-enhancing PA levels did not modify this association. Conclusion: Women with a history of pregnancy-related complications are at risk for future cardiovascular disease in the form of increased BP. While health-enhancing PA is known to decrease BP, we were unable to determine if self-reported PA modified the association between pregnancy complications and future elevated BP. Future studies with larger sample sizes and objective measures of the different domains of PA are needed.
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