Barr, a nutrition major from Bethesda, Ohio, has been researching the extra barriers pregnant women in Appalachia face when they are diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM.)
Barr assembled focus groups of mothers with the condition throughout West Virginia and in Pittsburgh and found that most wished they would've had more knowledge of GDM's implications.
"There aren't a lot of clinics in West Virginia for this, and the state has an epidemic of obesity, smoking and other risk factors for GDM. For many, their doctors were just putting them on straight medication without giving them the opportunity to do it themselves with exercise and diet, Barr said. "What we found was that they're motivated -- they want to take care of themselves and not pharmacologically."
Barr hopes that what she calls "lifestyle intervention" strategies, such as glucose control and smoking cessation, that arose from the project will be able to help all new mothers.
"I'm looking for something motivational. I'd rather do [research] to help prevent something... I think it's better that you actually know people' feelings on what they want before you diagnose them," she said.
Reach Mackenzie Mays at mackenzie.m...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4814.