Physical activity in low-income postpartum women

Susan Wilkinson, Chiu Mieh Huang, Lorraine O. Walker*, Bobbie Sue Sterling, Minseong Kim

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

38 Scopus citations


Purpose: To validate the 7-day physical activity recall (PAR), including alternative PAR scoring algorithms, using pedometer readings with low-income postpartum women, and to describe physical activity patterns of a low-income population of postpartum women. Methods: Forty-four women (13 African American, 19 Hispanic, and 12 White) from the Austin New Mothers Study (ANMS) were interviewed at 3 months postpartum. Data were scored alternatively according to the Blair (sitting treated as light activity) and Welk (sitting excluded from light activity and treated as rest) algorithms. Step counts based on 3 days of wearing pedometers served as the validation measure. Findings: Using the Welk algorithm, PAR components significantly correlated with step counts were: minutes spent in light activity, total activity (sum of light to very hard activity), and energy expenditure. Minutes spent in sitting were negatively correlated with step counts. No PAR component activities derived with the Blair algorithm were significantly related to step counts. The largest amount of active time was spent in light activity: 384.4 minutes with the Welk algorithm. Mothers averaged fewer than 16 minutes per day in moderate or high intensity activity. Step counts measured by pedometers averaged 6,262 (SD=2,712) per day. Conclusions: The findings indicate support for the validity of the PAR as a measure of physical activity with low-income postpartum mothers when scored according to the Welk algorithm. On average, low-income postpartum women in this study did not meet recommendations for amount of moderate or high intensity physical activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-114
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Nursing Scholarship
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2004


  • Low income
  • Pedometer
  • Physical activity
  • Postpartum


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