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Gestational Diabetes Rising at Alarming Rate in U.S. Women

The prevalence of GDM has been increasing over the past 8 years by 12% per year.

The prevalence of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) appears to be increasing in U.S. women, which may be a reflection of the well-documented obesity epidemic.

Dr. Dana Dabelea from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and colleagues examined temporal trends in GDM in more than 36,000 ethnically diverse women who were members of the Kaiser Permanente of Colorado health plan. All gave birth to a single infant between 1994 and 2002.

The prevalence of GDM among these women doubled over that period. "The prevalence of GDM has been increasing over the past 8 years" — by about 12% per year.

The increase, she said, was "present and similar" among all racial and ethnic groups studied. These included non-Hispanic whites, Hispanics, African Americans and Asians.

"Moreover, women born more recently were at increased risk for GDM compared with women born earlier, probably reflecting an increased exposure to risk factors operating before childbearing years, such as obesity," she said.

Dr. Dabelea pointed out that like type 2 diabetes mellitus and obesity, GDM is also increasing, "Future studies," she added, "need to explore reasons for this increase as well as the effects of this increase on the future generations."
Diabetes Care 2005;28:579-584.

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