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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Blood Sugar Level of Mothers Linked to Kids' Obesity Risk

Blood sugar level of mothers were found to be linked to childhood obesity. Women with high blood sugar levels when they are pregnant are two times more likely to have obese children. This is according to the largest study on the same topic. This research is published in the September issue of the journal called Diabetes Care.

It is not all bad news though because Teresa Hillier, an endocrinologist and co-author of the study said that the tendency to have obese children is reversible when the high blood sugar is treated during pregnancy. This makes it imperative for mothers to know their blood sugar level.

Teresa Hillier and her colleagues at Kaiser Permanente's Center for Health researched 9439 mother-child pairs who were enrolled at the center's Hawaii and Regions in the Northwest from 1995 to 2000. The result of their examination is that the higher the mother's blood sugar, the greater is the chance for the child to be overweight by the time he is between 5 and 7 years old. They found this true for all ethnic groups.

Those who had pre-existing diabetes were excluded from the study because the researchers wanted to find out how gestational diabetes affects the child when it comes to obesity risk. They wanted to be sure that the form of diabetes that appears for the very first time while the women were pregnant which is gestational diabetes would show the child’s risk for obesity.

A study like this was done before and the link was found between gestational diabetes and childhood obesity but it was a small study that involved the Pima Indians. But the study led by Teresa Hillier is the largest ever on this issue and it found that indeed a mother’s high blood sugar during pregnancy may make her child likely to be obese.

It is not all doom and gloom though for women who have gestational diabetes often lose the condition as soon as the baby is born. And as of the risk to childhood obesity of the maternal blood sugar, it is reversible. How? It is reversible through treatment with exercise, diet and sometimes insulin. This is not a problem because pregnant women who have the risk factors for diabetes are screened for diabetes as soon as they reach 24 to 26 weeks of pregnancy.

Larry Deeb, an endocrinologist has this word of wisdom for pregnant women. They need to know what their blood sugar is and they need to be sure it is normal in order to protect the baby. This is important because the obesity risk among children whose mothers had high blood sugar level but were treated lowered the risk to the same level of children whose mothers had normal blood sugar level.