Study: Maternal Gestational Diabetes Raises Risk of Childhood Obesity

Study: Maternal Gestational Diabetes Raises Risk of Childhood Obesity

Maternal Gestational Diabetes

Maternal Gestational Diabetes

Up to 28% of pregnant mothers suffer from Maternal Gestational Diabetes (GDM). Given that diabetes is giving the professional world such a scare, it was just a matter of time before the effect of GDM to the child was identified. And, it has.  According to a research that was recently conducted and published, it was found that children born of mothers suffering from GDM were at a higher risk of obesity in life between the ages of nine to 11. While most would say the blanket reference is scary, the research found even more damning numbers that continue to unravel the childhood obesity mammoth.

The study found that children born of women with gestational diabetes were at an 18.4% chance of suffering from childhood obesity compared to a 12.0% chance of their counterparts born of mothers that did not suffer gestational diabetes. This was with regards to general obesity. The figures stretched across the board to include central obesity with kids born of mothers suffering from GDM at a 16.0% risk compared to 9.6% risk of children born to GDM free mothers. The report also goes ahead to clearly indicate that the mean birth weight of the children also differed with those born of mothers with GDM standing at 3415g against 3274g for children born of healthy mothers.

However, the study did show a little more than just how GDM affected the wellbeing of the child after being born. The study also showed that children in low to middle income countries were at a higher risk to the positive relation of GDM and childhood obesity. On the other hand, children from the high income countries were not all in the clear as they were found to be more vulnerable to central obesity.

To give the study the diversity and strength that it needed, more than 4,000 children were studied from different countries which included Portugal, UK, Finland, Kenya, South Africa, US, Colombia China among others.

The results collected from the 12 countries showed that while GDM increased the odds of general childhood obesity and also central obesity, the association did not entirely rely on the Maternal BMI for the 9 to 11 year olds. The Birth Weights and the obesity rates as well as the body fat varied widely around the world.

Despite the damning numbers, the study was not able to clearly find the mechanisms that are responsible for the increased risk in childhood obesity.  However, there are a number of hypothesis that have been thrown around among them being the increase in fetal fat mass, change in fetal hormone levels among others. Other studies have also suggested that gestational diabetes could cause Epigenetic alteration in the fetal genome hence the effect. Regardless, the findings might call for women taking better care of themselves while they’re expecting for the safety of their offspring in the long run.

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