Body weight, body composition and energy balance related behaviour during the transition to parenthood
Understanding critical periods during which people are at risk to gain weight or display unhealthy changes in energy balance related behaviour (EBRB), i.e. eating, physical activity and sedentary behaviour, can facilitate the development of weight gain prevention programs. Although the transition to parenthood is associated with pregnancy-related weight gain and retention in women, evidence on the effect of having a first child on men’s body weight is lacking. It is also unclear whether pregnancy-related weight gain and retention cohere with unfavourable changes in body composition and EBRB in both women and men transitioning to parenthood. Using a mixed-methods design, we aim to provide insight into this critical life phase. An observational follow-up study will be used to investigate changes in body weight, body composition and EBRB among couples from pre-conception to one year postpartum, and to identify those most at risk for excessive weight gain. A qualitative study using focus group discussions will be used to identify determinants of EBRB during and after pregnancy, and to provide knowledge on how future intervention strategies targeting excessive weight gain should be built. Finally, based on our findings and an additional literature study, a targeted and feasible intervention strategy to counter excessive weight gain among couples transitioning into parenthood will be developed.