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A woman's pregnant belly protrudes while she stands on a scale
A pregnant woman is seen from the neck down, creating a salad at a counter full of fresh food


This multidisciplinary study will investigate the effectiveness of Healthy Mom Zone, a personalized digital health platform designed to help women with overweight or obesity maintain healthy weight gain during pregnancy. 


For mothers, high  weight gain during pregnancy is linked to gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, higher rates of cesarean delivery, and post-delivery obesity. 

For babies, higher-than-recommended weight gain by their mothers during pregnancy is linked to delivery complications, metabolic syndrome, and childhood obesity 

Danielle Downs

This intervention is designed to give pregnant women easily achievable strategies every day for a healthy pregnancy, delivery, postpartum, and beyond.

Danielle Downs


A preliminary trial of Healthy Mom Zone suggests this adaptive and personalized intervention could help effectively and efficiently manage gestational weight gain and improve their overall health and wellbeing, in turn, improving the health of newborns.

Study details

The team aims to enroll 144 pregnant women with overweight or obesity and track their weight gain, physical activity, eating behaviors, sleep and psychological well-being as well as their babies’ birth weights. 

Participants will receive health education, meal planning, workouts and more, all tailored to their needs based on analysis of their weight, physical activity, energy intake and other behaviors monitored in real time by the Healthy Mom Zone program. 


Principal investigator: Danielle Symons Downs

Co-investigators: Jennifer Savage Williams, Sy-Miin Chow, Constantino Lagoa, Jaimey Pauli, Allen Kunselman

Penn State’s RISE Team Engineer: Danying Shao

Project manager: Abigail Pauley

Behavior Intervention Specialist: Heather Lukac

Graduate Students: Tori Suhy, Lexi Whitney


Penn State collaborators come from kinesiology, nutritional sciences, human development and family studies, electrical engineering, obstetrics/gynecology, Institute of Cyber Science, public health sciences, and the Center for Childhood Obesity Research.

Daniel Rivera is a Co-investigator at Arizona State University and his post-doctoral scholar Owais Kahn is an essential part of the study team.


This work is funded by a multi-million-dollar grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Development of the digital platform was made possible by initial support from Penn State Social Science Research Institute and Institute for Computational and Data Sciences.

blood pressure being taken

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