Barriers and Facilitators to Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Postpartum: A Qualitative Systematic Review.

Citation metadata

Date: Mar. 2022
Publisher: Elsevier Science Publishers
Document Type: Report; Brief article
Length: 395 words

Document controls

Main content

Abstract :

Keywords Qualitative review; Postpartum; Healthy eating; Physical activity; Body weight Abstract Background Postpartum weight retention increases the risk of long-term overweight and obesity and associated comorbidities. Healthy eating and physical activity are important lifestyle behaviors for achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. However, these habits may be hard for women to adopt or maintain during the postpartum period. Objective To identify and describe barriers and facilitators to healthy eating and physical activity among postpartum women in the United States. Methods A qualitative systematic review was conducted. Qualitative studies on women's experiences with weight loss, healthy eating, and physical activity in the postpartum period were identified using a comprehensive search strategy. The quality of included studies was assessed using the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme checklist. Data were qualitatively analyzed using thematic synthesis. Resulting themes were mapped onto components of the Social-Ecological Model for Food and Physical Activity Decisions. Results Thirteen qualitative studies were included in the review. Barriers and facilitators to healthy eating and physical activity during the postpartum period included individual factors (emotional and mindless eating, physical limitations, and social support), settings and sectors (food environments, childcare needs, and structured information and support), and social and cultural norms (time constraints, and prioritization of maternal responsibilities). Conclusions Researchers and practitioners should consider how factors within various levels of the Social-Ecological Model may influence healthy eating and physical activity in the postpartum period. Author Affiliation: (1) Department of Nutrition and Food Studies, New York University, New York, New York (2) Division of Libraries, New York University, New York, New York * Address correspondence to: Rachel A. Ryan, MA, Department of Nutrition and Food Studies, New York University, 411 Lafayette St, 5th Floor, New York, NY 10003. Article History: Received 12 April 2021; Accepted 20 November 2021 (footnote) Supplementary Materials: and are available at (footnote) STATEMENT OF POTENTIAL CONFLICT OF INTEREST No potential conflict of interest was reported by the authors. (footnote) FUNDING/SUPPORT There is no funding to disclose. (footnote) AUTHOR CONTRIBUTIONS R. Ryan conceptualized the study; screened and selected studies for inclusion; conducted quality appraisals, data extraction, and data analysis; and wrote the manuscript. H. Lappen developed the search strategy and screened and selected studies for inclusion. J. D. Bihuniak conducted quality appraisals and data analysis, and provided manuscript revisions. Byline: Rachel A. Ryan [] (1,*), Hope Lappen, MLIS (2), Jessica Dauz Bihuniak, PhD, RDN (1)

Source Citation

Source Citation   

Gale Document Number: GALE|A694142003