Health beliefs and stages of changes to improve behaviors among obese and overweight women undergoing preconception care

Zahra Malverdy, Ashraf Kazemi


Background: Beginning and continuing pregnancy with obesity and being overweight has some known side effects for the mother and the fetus. Preventing these complications requires medical interventions before pregnancy. Because designing health improvement interventions requires understanding of the related factors of the behavior, the aim of this study was to determine the relation between health beliefs of women regarding the risks of obesity for pregnancy and stages of behavioral changes in
women under preconception care.
Materials and Methods: This study was a cross-sectional study that was conducted on 120 obese and overweight women under preconception care. Health belief structures including perceived sensitivity/intensity, perceived benefits, perceived barriers, and perceived self‑efficacy were measured using a questionnaire, and its relation with stages of nutrition and physical activity behavior changes was evaluated according to a transtheoretical model.
Results: Results showed a significant correlation between the stage of nutrition behavioral change and perceived sensitivity/intensity, perceived benefits, and self‑efficacy (P < 0.05). In addition, the stage of physical activity behavioral change showed a negative and significant correlation with perceived barriers and a positive and low‑to‑moderate significant correlation with other health belief structures (P < 0.05). Furthermore, the relation of perceived sensitivity/intensity with perceived benefits and self‑efficacy was positive and significant, and that with perceived barriers was negative and significant (P < 0.01).
Conclusions: Results showed that a health belief model could be a predictor of weight adjustment behaviors including nutrition and physical activity behaviors. Therefore, educational interventions based on a health belief model could be effective for improvement of these behaviors in obese and overweight women under preconception care.


Health belief model; nutrition; obesity; overweight; physical activity; transtheoretical model

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