Offspring of mothers who have GDM are at increased risk for diabetes

Young adolescents who have been exposed to a hyperinsulinemic environment in the womb are more likely to have the metabolic syndrome or be overweight than those who have not, suggest study results.

Previous research has suggested that offspring of mothers who have gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) are at increased risk for diabetes and cardiometabolic health problems, say researchers.

To investigate further, Wing Hung Tam (The Chinese University of Hong Kong, China) and colleagues assessed 129 children at 15 years of age for the presence of cardiometabolic risk factors. Of these, 42 were exposed to different severities of GDM in the womb and 87 were not.

Writing in the journal Diabetes Care, Tam and co-workers report that in utero hyperinsulinemia increased the risk for overweight at age 15 years 10-fold after adjusting for birth weight, Tanner staging, valtrex order maternal GDM status, and maternal body mass index at the follow-up evaluation.

In addition, after adjustment for the same factors, children exposed to GDM were 17 times more likely to develop the metabolic syndrome, as defined by the International Diabetes Foundation criteria with waist circumference and blood pressure cut offs modified to suit the local Chinese population.

The researchers caution that “the present study was limited by a small sample size and is underpowered to detect the effect of maternal GDM on offspring’s abnormal glucose tolerance and other cardiometabolic risks at adolescence.”

They suggest: “A large prospective study extending from early childhood through adolescence into young adulthood will be needed to address the possible effects of in uteroenvironment of maternal GDM and hyperinsulinemia on epigenetic programming and future cardiometabolic risk in the offspring.”

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