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High Blood Sugar in Moms Linked to Overweight Kids

Study results suggest that treating gestational diabetes encourages normal weight in children

FRIDAY, Aug. 31 (HealthDay News) -- Children born to women with hyperglycemia during pregnancy face an increased risk of obesity around the age of 6, researchers report in the September issue of Diabetes Care.

Teresa A. Hillier, M.D., of Kaiser Permanente Northwest in Portland, Ore., and colleagues analyzed data from populations in two regions: the northwest United States and Hawaii. The investigators evaluated 9,439 mother-child pairs. The data included results from mothers' gestational diabetes screenings during pregnancy, and the weight of offspring five to seven years later.

The researchers found that mothers with a positive glucose challenge test who met the Carpenter and Coustan criteria for gestational diabetes diagnosis were more likely to later have offspring above the 85th percentile for weight (odds ratio 1.89) or above the 95th percentile (odds ratio 1.82). However, children born to women who met National Diabetes Data Group criteria for gestational diabetes -- and thus were more likely to be treated -- were not at significantly greater risk for later obesity.

"Hyperglycemia during pregnancy is clearly playing a role in America's epidemic of childhood obesity," said Hillier in an accompanying statement. "The key finding here is that the risk of overweight and obese children rises in step with higher levels of blood sugar during pregnancy. The good news for pregnant women is that by treating gestational diabetes, your children's risk of becoming overweight or obese drops considerably."

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