Study Links Mother’s Weight Problems With Increased Risk of Daughter’s Inheriting the Problem

October 27, 2014

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It has long been thought that we inherit a lot more than just our parent’s genes when we are born. Ai Kubo, PhD and lead author of a new study published in Diabetes Care, found that women who developed gestational diabetes and were overweight before pregnancy were at a higher risk of having daughters who were obese later in childhood.

“Glucose levels during pregnancy, particularly gestational diabetes, were associated with the girls being overweight, and this association was much stronger if the mother was also overweight before pregnancy,” said Kubo.

The Facts

The study was based on a long-term research program carried out with over 400 girls and their mothers.

From 2005 to 2011, the girls were monitored and came in for annual clinic visits to measure each girl’s height, weight, body fat, abdominal obesity, and other parameters.

Pregnant women took glucose tolerance tests during gestational weeks 24 to 28.

Of all the mothers in the program, 27 of them had gestational diabetes. From them, the researchers were able to determine that the risk of having a body mass index at or above the 85th percentile was 3.5 times higher than that of girls whose mothers did not have gestational diabetes.

When combined with being overweight, it was found that the risk of the daughters of said mothers being overweight was about 5.5 times higher.
This suggests that women who modify their pre-pregnancy behaviors accordingly could reduce the chance of their daughter developing weight or obesity issues later on in their lives.


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