• African American;
  • Hispanic;
  • low income;
  • obesity;
  • postpartum;
  • weight gain


Objective: To describe the distribution of weight-related risks (weight retention and overweight/obese status) during the first postpartum year and determine if risk distributions differ by race/ethnicity, time, age, or parity.

Design: Secondary analysis of a longitudinal data set from 1- to 3-days to 12-months postpartum.

Setting: Initial recruitment was from a community hospital.

Participants: Two hundred and forty-seven (White, African American, or Hispanic) low-income women.

Results: At 1- to 3-days postpartum weight-related risks were distributed as follows: 6.1% no risk, 17.0% significant postpartum weight retention, 12.1% overweight/obese, and 64.8% both weight-related risks; at 12 months, the distribution was 32.4%, 8.9%, 16.6%, and 42.1%, respectively. Distributions differed by race/ethnicity at 6-months (χ2=16.1, p=.013) and 12-months postpartum (χ2=19.7, p=.003). Having both weight-related risks (vs. not) at 12 months was 3.1 (odds ratio [OR]) times more likely (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.6, 6.2) for African American and 2.4 (OR) times more likely (95% CI[1.3, 4.6]) for Hispanic than White women. Having two risks decreased significantly only between 1 to 3 days and 6 weeks (p=.000). Maternal parity, but not age, was associated with weight-related risk distributions on four of five time points.

Conclusion: Despite changes in the weight-related risk distributions from 1- to 3-days to 6-weeks postpartum, the proportion of African American and Hispanic women with weight-related risk (especially having two weight-related risks) remains high at 12-months postpartum.