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Large at Birth, Maternal Diabetes Up Child's Risk for Obesity

Breastfeeding lowers risk in those large for gestational age, but only without maternal diabetes


WEDNESDAY, Nov. 28, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Large for gestational age (LGA) is a stronger marker than maternal diabetes for subsequently being overweight or obese in early childhood, according to a study published online Nov. 13 in Diabetologia.

Padma Kaul, Ph.D., from the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, and colleagues examined the association of maternal diabetes status during pregnancy (no diabetes, gestational diabetes, or preexisting diabetes), being LGA, and breastfeeding (in the first five months of life) with being overweight or obese in 81,226 preschool-aged children (born between January 2005 and August 2013).

The researchers found the rate of being overweight/obese at preschool age ranged from 20.5 percent in the control group to 42.9 percent in the gestational diabetes/LGA group. For LGA alone, the adjusted attributable risk percent was significantly higher (39.4 percent) than that for either maternal gestational diabetes (16.0 percent) or preexisting diabetes (15.1 percent) alone. The risk for the combination of gestational diabetes/LGA was 50.1 percent, and for the combination of preexisting diabetes/LGA, the risk was 39.1 percent. The likelihood of being overweight/obese in childhood was lower with breastfeeding in all groups except for gestational diabetes/LGA and preexisting diabetes/LGA (both type 1 and type 2).

"We hope that these findings will reinforce public health campaigns advising women who are planning to get pregnant that, just like smoking, alcohol consumption and other lifestyle choices, their weight prior to getting pregnant, and weight gain and blood sugar control during pregnancy may have a significant impact on the future health of their children," the authors write.

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