(HealthDay News) – There is considerable racial/ethnic variation in the prevalence of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) by body mass index (BMI).

Monique Hedderson, PhD, from Kaiser Permanente Northern California in Oakland, and colleagues analyzed data from 123,040 women without diabetes prior to their pregnancy, who delivered babies between 1995–2006. The racial/ethnic disparities in the prevalence of GDM by BMI were assessed.

The researchers found that the age-adjusted prevalence of GDM increased with increasing BMI in all racial/ethnic groups. The prevalence of GDM differed by race; at a BMI of 22–24.9kg/m², the prevalence was 9.9% for Asian women and 8.5% for Filipina women, whereas for Hispanic, non-Hispanic white, and African-American women, the prevalence of GDM was >8% at a BMI of 28 to 30, 34 to 36, and ≥37kg/m², respectively. If all pregnant women were of normal weight (BMI <25kg/m²), the percentage of GDM that could be prevented ranged from 65% for African-American women to 23% for Asian women.

“Clinicians should be aware that the BMI thresholds for increased risk of GDM varies by racial/ethnic group and that the risk is high even at relatively low BMI cutoffs in Asian and Filipina women,” the authors write.

Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)