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Children's Insulin Resistance May Begin During Pregnancy

Babies born to obese women have higher percent body fat, more insulin resistance

MONDAY, June 8 (HealthDay News) -- The fetuses of obese mothers may develop insulin resistance in utero, according to research published in the June issue of Diabetes Care.

Patrick M. Catalano, M.D., of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, and colleagues analyzed data from 53 lean women and 68 obese women undergoing elective Caesarean delivery. Insulin resistance in mothers and fetuses was assessed by fasting glucose and insulin at the time of the Caesarean section.

The investigators discovered that the fetuses of obese women had higher percent body fat, higher fasting umbilical cord insulin and glucose, and greater cord leptin. Fetuses of obese mothers were more insulin resistant than fetuses of lean mothers. The authors further note that fetal adiposity was strongly correlated with fetal insulin resistance, and cord leptin was also significantly correlated with fetal insulin resistance.

"In summary, on the basis of these data we conclude that maternal obesity creates a significant risk for the next generations with metabolic compromise already apparent before birth. If prevention is the goal to stem the epidemic of obesity and related problems, then the perinatal period of development may be an important focus of additional research," Catalano and colleagues write.

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