King's College London

Research portal

Is There an Association Between Diet, Physical Activity and Depressive Symptoms in the Perinatal Period? An Analysis of the UPBEAT Cohort of Obese Pregnant Women

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1482-1493
Number of pages12
Issue number12
Early online date30 Apr 2020
Accepted/In press21 Apr 2020
E-pub ahead of print30 Apr 2020
PublishedDec 2020


King's Authors


Depression is a common morbidity of the perinatal period (during pregnancy and up to one year postpartum). There is evidence for an association between diet and physical activity, and depression in the non-pregnant population but this association has been relatively less explored during the perinatal period; particularly poorly understood is the relationship between specific dietary components and depression. The aim of this study was to explore the association between glycaemic load, saturated fat intake and physical activity and depressive symptoms in a high-risk population of obese pregnant women.

In a cohort of 1522 women participating in the UPBEAT trial, physical activity, glycaemic load and saturated fat intake were used as predictors of depressive symptoms measured using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS). Measures taken in early pregnancy were used in linear and logistic regression models. Repeated measures at three points during pregnancy and at six months postpartum were utilised in multilevel mixed effects models. Multiple imputation was used to account for missing data.

Increased glycaemic load was associated with small increases in levels of depressive symptoms across the perinatal period (adjusted beta coefficient 0.01; 95% CI 0.01,0.02). There was no evidence for an association between reduced physical activity and increased saturated fat intake and increased levels of depressive symptoms.

Glycaemic load may be a useful focus for interventions aiming to optimise the mental health of obese women in the perinatal period.

Download statistics

No data available

View graph of relations

© 2020 King's College London | Strand | London WC2R 2LS | England | United Kingdom | Tel +44 (0)20 7836 5454