Dietary Patterns, Physical Activity, and Socioeconomic Associations in a Midwestern Cohort of Healthy Reproductive-Age Women

Bronwyn S. Bedrick, Ashley M. Eskew, Jorge E. Chavarro, Emily S. Jungheim*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objective: To characterize dietary patterns and physical activity in a diverse cohort of Midwestern reproductive-age women and to determine associations between these lifestyle factors, socioeconomic factors, and obesity. Methods: In this cross-sectional study, 185 women completed validated food frequency and physical activity questionnaires. Dietary patterns were identified through principal component analysis. Sociodemographic characteristics associated with dietary pattern adherence and physical activity participation were identified through linear regression. Associations between lifestyle factors and obesity were assessed through logistic regression. Results: Two dietary patterns were identified: a “Prudent” pattern characterized by consumption of fruits, vegetables, olive oil, and nuts and a “Western” pattern including meat, refined carbohydrates, and high-calorie drinks. African-American women and women without a college degree were more likely to adhere to the Western dietary pattern than other women. Women in areas with higher socioeconomic deprivation had lower levels of physical activity, especially leisure-time exercise. Women who completed college participated in more leisure-time exercise and had less physically demanding occupations. Obesity was associated with increasing adherence to the Western dietary pattern in a dose-dependent fashion (aOR range 2.68–4.33, 95% CI range 0.69–16.61) but was not associated with adherence to the Prudent pattern (aOR range 0.46–1.06, 95% CI range 0.13–3.41). Increased physical activity was associated with reduced odds of obesity (aOR range 0.28–0.30, 95% CI range 0.10–0.93). Conclusions for Practice: This study highlights dietary and physical activity patterns associated with obesity in reproductive-age women. Lifestyle interventions focused on minimizing consumption of the Western diet and increasing physical activity may provide an opportunity to reduce obesity among reproductive-age women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1299-1307
Number of pages9
JournalMaternal and child health journal
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020


  • Dietary pattern
  • Obesity
  • Physical activity
  • Public health
  • Women of childbearing age

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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