MONDAY, June 10, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Pregnancy hyperglycemia at levels below the threshold for gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) and maternal obesity are associated with childhood obesity, according to a study recently published in PLOS ONE.

Samantha F. Ehrlich, Ph.D., M.P.H., from Kaiser Permanente Northern California in Oakland, and colleagues estimated the risk for childhood obesity associated with criteria proposed for GDM in a cohort study involving 46,396 women and their offspring. Pregnancy hyperglycemia was classified according to the values proposed for GDM diagnosis by the International Association of the Diabetes and Pregnancy Study Group (IADPSG), Carpenter Coustan (CC), and the National Diabetes Data Group (NDDG).

The researchers found that compared with normal screening, the risks for childhood obesity were increased for abnormal screening (risk ratio [RR], 1.30), one or more abnormal values by the IADPSG or CC (RRs, 1.47 and 1.48, respectively), and two or more abnormal values by the CC or NDDG (RRs, 1.52 and 1.60, respectively). Obese women with GDM defined by CC criteria had a significantly increased risk for childhood obesity compared with obese women without GDM (RR, 1.20); this finding was also seen for GDM by the IADSPG (RR, 1.18). Among normal-weight or overweight women, GDM did not significantly increase the risk for childhood obesity.

“We may be able to prevent childhood obesity in two ways: by helping mothers to achieve a normal body mass index before they become pregnant, and by reducing hyperglycemia during the pregnancy,” Ehrlich said in a statement.

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