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Increased Risk of Childhood Obesity in Girls Exposed to Gestational Diabetes

Nov 14, 2014

Girls whose mothers were also overweight or obese had an even higher risk….

Researchers conducted a study to see if there was an association between hyperglycemia in utero, gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), and childhood obesity.


This research included 421 girls and their mothers in the Kaiser Permanente system in Northern California. Participants were aged 6 to 8 years from a variety of ethnic backgrounds and were followed for a mean of 3.8 years. Mothers’ pregnancy glucose readings were obtained from maternal medical records. The primary outcomes included three indicators for obesity: ≥85th age-specific percentile for BMI, body fat percentages, and waist-to-height ratio.

The study found that girls with mothers who had gestational diabetes had higher age-specific BMI percentile (OR=3.56; 95% CI, 1.28-9.92), body fat percentage (OR=3.13; 95% CI, 1.08-9.09) and higher waist-to-height ratio (OR=2.8; 95% CI, 1.0-7.84). Also, the study found that mothers who were overweight and with gestational diabetes have daughters with ≥85th age-specific percentile for BMI (OR=5.56; 95% CI, 1.7-18.2), body fat in the highest quartile (OR=6.04; 95% CI, 1.76-20.7) and waist-to-hip ratio in the highest quartile (OR=3.6; 95% CI, 1.35-9.58).

According to this study, girls who were exposed to gestational diabetes are at a higher risk for childhood obesity. Furthermore, risk for obesity can increase if the mother is overweight or obese.

Practical Pearls:

  • This study was conducted in girls, aged 6 to 8 years, to examine the correlation between their exposure to gestational obesity and risk for obesity.
  • This study suggests that daughters who were exposed to hyperglycemia in utero were at a higher risk for obesity.
  • Furthermore, daughters were at higher risk if mothers were overweight or obese.

Kubo, A, et al. “Maternal Hyperglycemia During Pregnancy Predicts Adiposity of the Offspring.” Diabetes Care (2014). August 22, 2014; DOI: 10.2337/dc14-1438 Print.