Physical activity among women at reproductive age and during pregnancy (Youth Behavioural Polish Survey – YBPS and Pregnancy-related Assessment Monitoring Survay – PrAMS) – epidemiological population studies in Poland during the period 2010-2011

Department of Health Promotion, Food and Nutrition, Institute of Rural Health, Lublin, Poland
Independent Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Institute of Rural Health, Lublin, Poland ; Department of Public Health, Faculty of Tourism and Health Sciences, University of Information Technology and Management, Rzeszów, Poland
Chief Sanitary Inspectorate, Warsaw, Poland; Institute of Haematology and Transfusion Medicine, Warsaw, Poland
Department of Functional Research, Institute of Rural Health, Lublin, Poland
Ann Agric Environ Med 2011;18(2):365–374
Physical activity is among the basic human needs and is the key precondition for the maintenance and enhancement of health throughout all periods of life. Physical inactivity is now identified as the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality. Physical inactivity levels are rising in many countries, with major implications for the prevalence of non-communicable diseases and the general health of the population worldwide. An adequate level of physical activity among young women at reproductive age is especially important because it is one of the preconditions affecting their capability for procreation which, to a great extent, affects their activity during pregnancy and conditions the course of pregnancy and labour. Unfortunately, many scientific reports indicate a decrease in physical activity among adolescents, especially girls. The primary cause of this alarming phenomenon are changes in behaviours, including an increasingly greater amount of time devoted to so-called sedentary activities. Such negative health behaviours of women may have negative health effects on the functioning of their organism and, in the future, on the development of their off spring. The objective of the presented study was analysis of the level of physical activity among women at reproductive age (prior to conception), and pregnant women in Poland. The study group covered 3,940 women, (730 girls aged up to 15, and 3,210 women aged over 15), and 6,252 pregnant women. The survey was conducted among schoolchildren and students during the last quarter of 2011, while the survey among pregnant women was carried out twice: in the second quarter of 2010, and in the third quarter of 2011.The results of the study revealed a relatively low level of physical activity among young women and pregnant women. The analysis showed an alarming downward tendency in the physical activity of women related to age. Such a decrease in physical activity among girls already during the period of puberty may be of key importance during the period of maturity, especially when they become pregnant. It is highly recommended, therefore, that effective actions should be taken in the area of public health; this would enhance the social awareness, especially among females, concerning the importance of physical activity for the normal development of the organism and an adequate course of pregnancy and labour.