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As the prevalence of diabetes continues to rise worldwide, it becomes increasingly important to identify high-risk populations and to implement strategies to delay or prevent diabetes onset. Women diagnosed with gestational diabetes mellitus are at substantially increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes and obesity, currently at epidemic rates in the U.S. Although physical activity has been considered in previous studies of pregnancy outcome, their potential influence on gestational diabetes and subsequent onset of type 2 diabetes has not been elucidated. Hispanic women are two-to-four times more likely than non-Hispanic white women to be diagnosed with gestational diabetes.
In light of these observations, my research has focused on three specific goals:
- Develop and Validate Physical Activity Assessment Tools: To create, validate, and promulgate tools designed to accurately measure physical activity in pregnant women of diverse backgrounds.
- Inform Clinical Practice by Identifying Modifiable Risk Factors: To determine the impact of modifiable risk factors such as physical activity on adverse maternal/fetal outcomes such as gestational diabetes in Hispanic women.
- Translate Findings Into Public Health Strategies: To evaluate the feasibility and efficacy of high-reach, low-cost strategies for the adoption and maintenance of healthy behaviors during pregnancy among diverse populations.