In May 2018 researchers from Australia and Hong Kong, China published their review of the medical scientific literature to assess the association between modifiable lifestyle factors of diet, physical activity and risk of gestational diabetes. A total of 40 studies, involving 30,871 pregnant women, met their inclusion criteria and were included in the review. The studies were assessed for quality with 72% obtaining a positive quality rating and 28% being rated neutral. Studies on diet were categorised into either caffeine, carbohydrate, fat, protein, calcium, fast food and recognized dietary patterns. Results showed that diets such as the Mediterranean Diet, Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet and Alternate Healthy Eating Index diet were associated with a 15–38% reduced risk of gestational diabetes. In contrast, frequent consumption of potato, meat/processed meats, and protein from animal sources was associated with an increased risk of gestational diabetes. Compared to no physical activity, any pre-pregnancy physical activity was associated with a 30% reduced risk of gestational diabetes whilst early pregnancy physical activity was associated with a 21% reduced risk. In fact, undertaking more than 90 min/week of leisure time physical activity before pregnancy was associated with 46% decreased risk of gestational diabetes. The researchers therefore concluded that diets resembling the Mediterranean, DASH and Alternate Healthy Eating Index diets as well as higher physical activity levels before or in early pregnancy are associated with a reduced risk of gestational diabetes.
Mijatovic-Vukas J et al. Associations of Diet and Physical Activity with Risk for Gestational Diabetes Mellitus: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Nutrients. 2018 May 30;10(6). pii: E698.