A new study, which investigated the association of maternal diabetes, being large for gestational age (LGA) and breastfeeding with being overweight or obese in pre-school-aged children, has found that a larger proportion of excess weight in childhood can be attributed to LGA than maternal diabetes during pregnancy.
The study included 81,226 children born between January 2005 and August 2013. Children were grouped into categories based on maternal diabetes status (none, gestational or pre-existing) and birth weight.
Rates of being overweight/obese at pre-school age ranged from 20.5 per cent in controls (no diabetes/appropriate gestational age) to 42.9 per cent in those born to mothers with gestational diabetes/LGA.
The adjusted attributable risk for LGA alone was 39.4 per cent, while it was 16 per cent for gestational diabetes and 15.1 per cent for pre-existing diabetes. A child's risk of being overweight/obese was near-trebled if they were in the gestational diabetes/LGA group compared to the no diabetes/appropriate for gestational age birthweight group.
Breastfeeding was associated with a lower likelihood of being overweight/obese in most children, but not in LGA infants of mothers with diabetes.
Presenting the findings in Diabetologia, the authors suggested women who are planning to become pregnant should be advised about the risk factors for LGA.