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Gestational Diabetes Risk Tied to Ethnicity, Socioeconomics

Jan 20, 2009

Gestational diabetes mellitus is an increasingly prevalent risk factor for the subsequent development of type 2 diabetes, and ethnicity and socioeconomic status appear to considerably influence the risk of gestational diabetes mellitus, researchers report

Investigator Dr. Hidde P. van der Ploeg stated that, “30% of women with gestational diabetes¬† develop type 2 diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance within the next 7 to 10 years. In some groups, the incidence may increase to 50% in 5 years.”
Dr. van der Ploeg of the University of Sydney and colleagues examined data on more than 950,000 births that took place in New South Wales between 1995 and 2005.


Over this period, the prevalence of gestational diabetes mellitus rose from 3% to 4.4% (a 45% increase). Relative to women born in Australia, women born in South Asia had the highest adjusted odds ratio (4.33) for such an outcome.

The corresponding odds ratio for women born in the Middle East and North Africa was 2.40.

In addition, compared to women with the highest socioeconomic status, those of lower status had adjusted odds ratios of from 1.54 to 1.74 for gestational diabetes mellitus. Increased age was also an important risk factor. Compared to women in their 20s, those over 40 years of age had an adjusted odds ratio of 6.13.

“Our study,” concluded Dr. van der Ploeg, “shows that certain ethnic groups and women with lower socioeconomic status are at increased risk of developing gestational diabetes mellitus. Culture-specific interventions should be developed to prevent the development of type 2 diabetes in these women at high risk.”

Diabetes Care 2008;31:2288-2293.