A pilot study evaluating the effects of a 12 week exergaming programme on body mass, size and composition in postpartum femalesDownload PDF
Introduction: Pregnancy is associated with weight gain, the retention of which contributes to the prevalence of obesity and overweight in adult females. Many new mothers do not achieve the recommendations for physical activity (PA), citing factors such as a lack of time and access to childcare. Exergaming may address some of the barriers to PA and offer an alternative to traditional exercise, thus aiding in weight management. The aim of this pilot study was to evaluate the effects of an exergaming intervention on body composition in postpartum females.
Methods: Eight females who had given birth within 1 year completed a 12 week exergaming intervention, which required them to exercise at home for 45 minutes on alternate days, using the Wii Fit. Participants self-reported their pre-pregnancy body weight, and visited the laboratory prior to and following the intervention for evaluation of body weight, size (height, regional circumferences, body mass index [BMI]) and composition (fat mass [FM], lean mass [LM] and bone mineral content [BMC]). Body composition was evaluated via full body full-body dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry scan. Participants completed a three-day weighed food intake at three time-points.
Results: Baseline body mass was 8.2 kg greater than self-reported pre-pregnancy values (56.8 ± 5.1 kg). Following the intervention, body mass was significantly lower than baseline values and was similar to pre-pregnancy levels (59.9 ± 7.9 kg). Reductions in BMI (~2 kg·m2), waist, hip and bust circumference (3-6%) accompanied the loss of body mass. Food diaries confirmed participants had not altered their energy intake.
Discussion: The results of this pilot study indicate that exergaming may offer an alternative to traditional exercise for preventing the retention of gestational weight gain and reducing associated health risks, whilst also maintaining lean mass and bone mineral content.
Keywords: active gaming, pregnancy, weight loss/management