Public Health Nutrition

Research Papers

Associations of dietary habits, physical activity and cognitive views with gestational diabetes mellitus among Chinese women

Qing Lia1a2, Ribo Xionga2, Liang Wanga3, Junying Cuia2, Linna Shia1 c1, Yungang Liua2 c1 and Bingde Luoa2 c1

a1 Department of Dietetics, Nanfang Hospital, Southern Medical University, 1838 N. Guangzhou DaDao, Guangzhou 510515, People's Republic of China

a2 School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Southern Medical University, 1023 S. Shatai Road, Guangzhou 510515, People's Republic of China

a3 Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, College of Public Health, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN, USA


Objective To evaluate the relationship between dietary habits, physical activity and cognitive views and the risk of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) in Chinese women.

Design A cross-sectional study to explore the potential risk factors of GMD through the International Physical Activity Questionnaire, an FFQ and a self-designed structured questionnaire, respectively.

Setting Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, China.

Subjects Chinese pregnant women (n 571) who underwent a 75-g oral glucose tolerance test at their 24th to 28th gestational week.

Results Thirteen per cent of the investigated women were identified as having GDM, and an increased intake of local featured foods and lower physical activity were observed in the GDM-positive group v. the GDM-negative group. Women who regarded early-pregnancy morning sickness as relevant to fetal abnormalities and those with unlimited dietary intake after the ending of morning sickness both had an increased risk for GDM (P = 0·018 and P = 0·038, respectively). After multiple logistic regression analysis, cognitive views for unlimited food intake subsequent to morning sickness, increased consumption of energy-dense snack foods and high-glycaemic-index fruits were strongly associated with the risk of GDM (OR = 1·911, P = 0·032; OR = 1·050, P = 0·001; and OR = 1·002, P = 0·017, respectively).

Conclusions Local featured foods and incorrect cognitive views on pregnancy-related health were closely related to the risk of GDM in Chinese women. Intensive health education about pregnancy physiology and reasonable dietary and physical exercise behaviours should be strengthened for the control of GDM.

(Received January 30 2013)

(Revised June 02 2013)

(Accepted June 12 2013)

(Online publication August 07 2013)


  • Gestational diabetes mellitus;
  • Dietary habits;
  • Physical activity;
  • Cognitive views on pregnancy health


c1 Corresponding author: Y.L. (Email:; correspondence could also be addressed to L.S. and B.L. (Emails:,


  These two authors contributed equally to this work.