Diet and physical activity appear to reduce the risk of gestational diabetes although the effect varies by region

In July 2018 researchers from Australia and China reviewed the medical scientific literature to assess whether interventions designed to prevent excessive weight gain during pregnancy had any impact on the incidence of gestational diabetes.  A total of 45 studies were included in the review.  Results showed that a dietary intervention reduced the risk of gestational diabetes by 44% and physical activity by 38%.  Interventions consisting of diet and physical activity combined, however, did not appear to significantly alter the risk. BMI also did not appear to have any significant impact on the risk of gestational diabetes. A further analysis revealed that when region was taken into consideration physical activity interventions in Southern Europe reduced the risk of gestational diabetes by 37% whereas in Asia, diet reduced the risk by 62% and diet and physical activity combined reduced the risk by 32%.

Bennett CJ et al. Interventions designed to reduce excessive gestational weight gain can reduce the incidence of gestational diabetes mellitus: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2018 Jul;141:69-79

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