Moms with gestational diabetes more likely to have overweight daughters
In the first study that directly links maternal hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) to having overweight offspring later on, researchers found that moms with gestational diabetes can impact their daughters' weight before they're even born.
"Glucose levels during pregnancy, particularly gestational diabetes, were associated with the girls being overweight, and this association was much stronger if the mother was also overweight before pregnancy," said lead study author Ai Kubo, PhD, epidemiologist at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, California.
The study included 421 girls and their mothers. The girls were followed from 2005 to 2011, having annual doctor visits to measure their height, weight, body fat, and other health parameters.
Gestational diabetes and weight gain
When a girl's mother had gestational diabetes, the girl's risk of having a body mass index in the 85th percentile or higher was 3.5 times greater than for girls whose mothers didn't have gestational diabetes.
The association was present regardless of other factors that influence childhood female obesity, like race, ethnicity, mother's weight or state of puberty.
Behavior modifications that help pregnant mothers to improve their health and lifestyles before and during pregnancy could help reduce the risk of having overweight daughters, Kubo said.
Source: Kaiser Permanente