Childbearing Shown to Increase Risk of Metabolic Syndrome

Increased risk occurs regardless of whether gestational diabetes develops

MONDAY, Aug. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Childbearing increases the likelihood of developing the metabolic syndrome, regardless of whether women develop gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), according to a study in the August issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Erica P. Gunderson, Ph.D., from Kaiser Permanente Northern California in Oakland, and colleagues studied 1,451 women (18 to 30 years old) who had never given birth and followed them for 20 years. Women were classified based on whether they developed GDM: 0 births, 1 non-GDM birth, 2+ non-GDM births, or 1+ GDM births.

The researchers identified 259 incident cases of the metabolic syndrome. Compared with no births, increasing numbers of births were associated with a higher risk of developing the metabolic syndrome. The adjusted relative hazard ratios were 1.33 for 1 non-GDM birth, 1.62 for 2+ non-GDM births, and 2.43 for 1+ GDM births.

"Our findings suggest that childbearing contributes to development of the metabolic syndrome and that the association is partially mediated through weight gain and lack of physical activity," Gunderson and colleagues conclude. "Although women with GDM had the highest relative risk, those with non-GDM pregnancies had a greater absolute risk, contributing four times as many cases as GDM pregnancies (40 versus 9 percent metabolic syndrome cases)."

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Physician’s Briefing Staff

Physician’s Briefing Staff

Published on August 17, 2009

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