(HealthDay News) — Girls exposed to maternal gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) or hyperglycemia in utero have elevated risk of childhood adiposity, particularly if the mother is overweight or obese, according to a study published online August 22 in Diabetes Care.

Ai Kubo, MPH, PhD, from Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, CA, and colleagues examined associations between maternal pregnancy hyperglycemia, GDM, and offspring adiposity in a longitudinal study of 421 mother-daughter pairs at Kaiser Permanente Northern California. Girls’ adiposity outcomes included age-specific percentile for body mass index (BMI); percent body fat (percent BF); and waist-to-height ratio (WHR).

The researchers found that having a mother with GDM versus the lowest quintile of blood glucose correlated with increased odds of a girl’s risk of having a BMI ≥85th percentile (odds ratio [OR], 3.56; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.28–9.92), or having percent BF or WHR in the highest quartile (Q4; ORs, 3.13 [95% CI, 1.08–9.09] and 2.80 [95% CI, 1.00–7.84], respectively), after adjustment for confounding variables. Girls whose mothers had both GDM and high pregravid BMI had the highest odds of having a BMI ≥85th percentile (OR, 5.56); Q4 percent BF (OR, 6.04); and Q4 WHR (OR, 3.60). The associations were similar, but weaker, for hyperglycemia and offspring adiposity.

“Screening and intervention for this high-risk group is warranted to slow the intergenerational transmission of obesity and its sequelae,” the authors write.

The study was partially funded by the Avon Foundation

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