Mothers’ pre-pregnancy obesity and diabetes increase risk of autism in offspring
Children born to obese women with diabetes have four times the risk of developing autism spectrum disorder compared to children born to non-obese women without diabetes. Researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health published this finding on January 29, 2016 in the journal Pediatrics.
The data was obtained from 2,734 mother-child pairs recruited between 1998 and 2014 at the Boston Medical Center; 102 children with autism were identified during the course of the study. Data on mothers’ weight and diabetes history prior to the pregnancy and whether obesity and diabetes developed during the pregnancy period were collected.
The research findings suggest that risk for autism is present in utero and indicates the importance of controlling the diabetes and weight even before the pregnancy period. Why the combination of obesity and diabetes influences the risk of autism in children is a question for future research.
Reference: Mengying Li; M. Daniele Fallin; Anne Riley; et al. The association of maternal obesity and diabetes with autism and other developmental disabilities. Pediatrics, January 2016 DOI: 10.1542/peds.2015-220