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Study: Diabetes risk in teens increases if mother was diabetic during pregancy


ALEXANDRIA, Va. Mothers with diabetes, who are also obese while pregnant, give their children an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes in adolescence, according to the journal Diabetes Care.

Dana Dabelea at the University of Colorado Denver and co-investigators studied 79 youths who were diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes before their 20th birthday and 190 nondiabetic control youths.

They found that far more diabetic youths than nondiabetic youths were exposed to their mother’s diabetes in the womb (roughly 30 percent versus 6 percent). The same was true for overweight and obesity, with 57 percent of diabetic youth versus 27 percent of nondiabetic youth being exposed to maternal overweight/obesity.

The adjusted odds for Type 2 diabetes was roughly 7-fold higher with exposure to maternal diabetes and more than threefold higher with exposure to maternal overweight/obesity.

Dabelea and colleagues estimate that 47 percent of youth-onset Type 2 diabetes can be attributed to prenatal exposure to maternal diabetes and obesity.

Moreover, “the odds for Type 2 diabetes was 2.5-fold higher when the diabetes was diagnosed before versus after pregnancy,” Dabelea’s team reported. “This finding suggests that even in the selected group of offspring at high genetic risk, exposure to diabetes in utero is associated with a further increase in Type 2 diabetes risk.”

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