Acta Diabetologica

, Volume 55, Issue 9, pp 955–962 | Cite as

Physical activity during pregnancy is associated with a lower prevalence of gestational diabetes mellitus in Vietnam

  • C. L. NguyenEmail author
  • N. M. Pham
  • A. H. Lee
  • P. T. H. Nguyen
  • T. K. Chu
  • A. V. V. Ha
  • D. V. Duong
  • T. H. Duong
  • C. W. Binns
Original Article



To assess the association between physical activity (PA) during pregnancy and the prevalence of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) accounting for sitting time.


The study used data from a cohort study of 2030 pregnant women in Vietnam. Women were recruited from six hospitals in Ha Noi, Hai Phong, and Ho Chi Minh City. Baseline measurements including PA and GDM were taken at 24–28 weeks of gestation. PA was assessed during the past 3 months before the interview using the interviewer-administered Pregnancy Physical Activity Questionnaire. GDM was diagnosed at 24–28 weeks of gestation using the 2013 World Health Organization criteria.


1987 out of 2030 pregnant women were included in the final analysis, of which 432 had GDM (21.7%). Women undertaking the highest level (upper tertile) of PA during pregnancy appeared to have a lower risk of GDM [odds ratio (OR) 0.70, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.53–0.94, Ptrend 0.017] when compared to those at the lowest tertile of PA. Similarly, women with increased levels of moderate-intensive activity and household/caregiving activity during pregnancy were associated with reduced risks of GDM (OR 0.66, 95% CI 0.50–0.86, Ptrend 0.002 and OR 0.72, 95% CI 0.55–0.95, Ptrend 0.020, respectively). These apparent inverse associations were not attenuated by their sitting time. There were no significant associations between sitting time, light-intensity activity, vigorous-intensity activity, occupation, sports/exercise, commuting, or meeting exercise guidelines and GDM risk.


High levels of PA, particularly moderate-intensity and household/caregiving activities during pregnancy were associated with a lower prevalence of GDM independent of sitting time.


Physical activity Sitting time Gestational diabetes Pregnancy Vietnam 



The authors are grateful to the women who participated in this study and also would like to thank the participating hospitals and data enumerators for their support in data collection.

Author contributions

CLN, TKC, PTHN, and AVVH designed the study and collected data. CLN drafted the manuscript. NMP assisted with data analysis. THD provided expert advice on the study design. DVD, NMP, AHL and CWB were the study supervisors and involved in all aspects of the study. All authors revised the article and approved the final version for publication.


This study was partly funded by the School of Public Health, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interests.

Human and animal rights

The study was approved by the Curtin University Human Research Ethics Committee (approval number: HR32/2015) and the Hai Phong University of Medicine and Pharmacy Human Research Ethics Committee (approval number: 05/HPUMPRB/2015).

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia S.r.l., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. L. Nguyen
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • N. M. Pham
    • 1
    • 3
  • A. H. Lee
    • 1
  • P. T. H. Nguyen
    • 1
    • 4
  • T. K. Chu
    • 1
    • 5
  • A. V. V. Ha
    • 1
    • 6
  • D. V. Duong
    • 7
  • T. H. Duong
    • 2
  • C. W. Binns
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Public HealthCurtin UniversityPerthAustralia
  2. 2.National Institute of Hygiene and EpidemiologyHanoiVietnam
  3. 3.Thai Nguyen University of Medicine and PharmacyThai NguyenVietnam
  4. 4.University of Medicine and Pharmacy at Ho Chi Minh CityHo Chi Minh CityVietnam
  5. 5.Hai Phong University of Medicine and PharmacyHai PhongVietnam
  6. 6.Pham Ngoc Thach University of MedicineHo Chi Minh CityVietnam
  7. 7.United Nations Population FundHanoiVietnam

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