Smoking and Inactivity Down in Women of Childbearing Age

But risk factors such as obesity and diabetes more prevalent than ever

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Among women of reproductive age, the prevalence of two risk factors for poor outcomes in pregnancy and health in general have fallen, but other risk factors and chronic conditions have stayed the same or grown, according to research published in the November issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Preventing Chronic Disease.

Donald K. Hayes, M.D., M.P.H., of the Hawaii Department of Health in Honolulu, and colleagues analyzed data from the 2001 to 2009 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System on 329,917 women aged 18 to 44 to estimate trends in risk factors for disease and death in women of reproductive age.

The researchers found declines in two risk factors: smoking and physical inactivity. There was no change in the prevalence of heavy drinking; and the prevalence of obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, asthma, and high blood pressure all increased.

"Among women of reproductive age, prevalence of smoking and physical inactivity improved, but prevalence of obesity and all 4 chronic conditions worsened. Understanding reasons for the improvements in smoking and physical activity may support the development of targeted interventions to reverse the trends and help prevent chronic disease and adverse reproductive outcomes among women in this age group," the authors write.

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