The feasibility and effectiveness of pram walking groups for postpartum women in western Sydney.

Australian Health Promotion Association
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Health Promotion Journal of Australia, 2005, 16 (2), pp. 93 - 99
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Women with children under five are the least physically active population group. We provided postpartum women living in western Sydney with the opportunity to participate in weekly pram walking groups and evaluated the effect of the intervention on self-reported physical activity, mental health and social indicators. METHODS: Mothers living in the intervention area (Blacktown LGA) and control area (Holroyd and Parramatta LGAs) completed a baseline questionnaire. Women in the intervention community were invited to participate in a pram walking group starting in the next month. The control group (n = 60) were also invited to participate in a pram walking group starting six months later. A follow-up questionnaire was completed by all mothers. RESULTS: There was no significant increase in the proportion of mothers in the intervention or control groups engaging in adequate physical activity from baseline to follow-up. However, intervention mothers increased their sessions of vigorous exercise and control mothers increased the amount of time spent walking. There were no significant differences at baseline or follow-up between the intervention and control groups in frequency of social contact or size of social networks. Nor was there a significant difference in satisfaction with social contact at baseline between the two groups. However, at follow-up women in the intervention group were more satisfied with the quality of their social contacts than the controls. CONCLUSIONS: Providing organised, community-based pram walking was not sufficient to increase overall physical activity levels among this group of postpartum women. The results suggest that the friendships formed in the pram walking group boosted mothers' satisfaction with social contact and possibly their mental health.
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