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Treating diabetes during pregnancy can break link to childhood obesity
Date:8/27/2007

August 28, 2007 (Oakland, Calif) -- Treating diabetes during pregnancy can break the link between gestational diabetes and childhood obesity, according to a Kaiser Permanente study featured in the September issue of Diabetes Care.

The largest study of its kind, this research shows that the risk of childhood obesity rises in tandem with a pregnant womans blood sugar level and that untreated gestational diabetes nearly doubles a child's risk of becoming obese by age 5 to 7. The study also shows for the first time that by treating women with gestational diabetes, the childs risk of becoming obese is significantly reduced. In fact, children whose moms were treated for gestational diabetes had the same risk for becoming obese as children whose mothers had normal blood sugar levels.

Researchers at Kaiser Permanentes Center for Health Research (CHR) in Portland and Hawaii used the organizations integrated databases to analyze medical records of 9,439 mother-child pairs. The subjects were members of the health plan in Oregon, Washington and Hawaii and gave birth between 1995 and 2000. The authors found that treating gestational diabetes lowers the child's risk of becoming obese during childhood to the same levels of those pregnant mothers with normal blood sugar levels.

Gestational diabetes, the condition in which pregnancy triggers insulin resistance and raises the womans blood glucose level (hyperglycemia), affects up to 8 percent of pregnant women each year in the United States. The rate of childhood obesity in this country more than doubled in the last two decades, so much so that it is now one the nations fastest growing health conditions. Nearly 7 million overweight and obese children in the United States today will grow up to become overweight or obese adults.

"Hyperglycemia during pregnancy is clearly playing a role in America's epidemic of childhood obesity," said Teresa Hillier, MD, MS, an endocrinologist and senior invest
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Contact: Danielle Cass
danielle.x.cass@kp.org
510-267-5354
Kaiser Permanente Division of Research
Source:Eurekalert

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