Each year, it is estimated that 8% of pregnant women in the US develop gestational diabetes, where hyperglycemia and insulin resistance develop as a result of pregnancy. The childhood obesity rate has doubled in the last two decades and it is estimated that 7 million overweight or obese children will grow into overweight or obese adults. A study in the September issue of Diabetes Care has found the risk of childhood obesity increases in line with the pregnant mother's blood sugar levels. The research team of Kaiser Permanent Center for Health Research analyzed records of nearly 9,500 mother-child pairs who were members of the organizations health plan through the years of 1995 and 2000. The evidence found that diabetes in pregnant women resulted in an 89 percent higher risk of the child becoming overweight and an 82 percent higher risk of the child becoming obese between the ages of 5 and 7 years.
Researchers found that when pregnant women were treated for diabetes, the child obesity risk was reduced to the same level of children born from mothers who had normal blood sugar levels. Lead author, Dr. Teresa Hillier advises pregnant women to talk to their doctor about diabetes screening and, if necessary, should work with their doctor to receive treatment.