Association between maternal diabetes, being large for gestational age and breast-feeding on being overweight or obese in childhood
This study aimed to examine the association of maternal diabetes, being large for gestational age (LGA) and breast-feeding with being overweight or obese in pre-school-aged children.
Data on height and weight at the time of their pre-school (age 4–6 years) immunisation visit between January 2009 and August 2017, as well as breast-feeding status in the first 5 months of life, for 81,226 children born between January 2005 and August 2013 were linked with maternal hospitalisation and outpatient records and birth registry data. Children were grouped into six categories based on maternal diabetes status during pregnancy (no diabetes, gestational diabetes or pre-existing diabetes) and birthweight (appropriate for gestational age [AGA] or LGA). WHO criteria were used to identify children who were overweight or obese.
There were 69,506 children in the no diabetes/AGA group (control), 5926 in the no diabetes/LGA group, 4563 in the gestational diabetes/AGA group, 573 in the gestational diabetes/LGA group, 480 in the pre-existing diabetes/AGA group and 178 in the pre-existing diabetes/LGA group. The rate of being overweight/obese at pre-school age ranged from 20.5% in the control group to 42.9% in the gestational diabetes/LGA group. The adjusted attributable risk per cent for LGA alone (39.4%) was significantly higher than that for maternal gestational diabetes (16.0%) or pre-existing diabetes alone (15.1%); the risk for the combinations of gestational diabetes/LGA and pre-existing diabetes/LGA were 50.1% and 39.1%, respectively. Further stratification of the pre-existing diabetes groups found the prevalence of being overweight/obese was 21.2% in the type 1/AGA group, 31.4% in the type 1/LGA group (similar to those in the no diabetes groups), 26.7% in the type 2/AGA group and 42.5% in the type 2/LGA group. Breast-feeding was associated with a lower likelihood of being overweight/obese in childhood in all groups except gestational diabetes/LGA and pre-existing diabetes/LGA (both type 1 and type 2).
LGA is a stronger marker for risk of being overweight/obese in early childhood, compared with maternal diabetes during pregnancy. Rates of being overweight/obese in childhood were highest in LGA children born to mothers with gestational diabetes or pre-existing type 2 diabetes. Breast-feeding was associated with a lower risk of being overweight/obese in childhood in the majority of children; however, this association was not maintained in LGA children of mothers with diabetes.
KeywordsChildhood obesity Gestational diabetes mellitus Large for gestational age Pre-existing diabetes
Appropriate for gestational age
Alberta Health Care Insurance Population registry
International Classification of Diseases
Large for gestational age
Small for gestational age
This study is based on data provided by Alberta Health. We thank Kenneth Morrison at Alberta Health for assistance in creating the linked database. The interpretation and conclusions contained herein are those of the researchers and do not necessarily represent the views of the Government of Alberta. The immunisation data were made available by R. Andersen and J. Coldham from the Calgary Zone Public Health System, Alberta Health Services, AB, Canada. The authors acknowledge L. Luoma for her critical review and editing of the manuscript.
PK, SLB, LED, ROY and EAR conceived the study. PK, LED, and EAR obtained funding. PK and SLB drafted the manuscript. AS conducted all analyses. All authors edited subsequent versions of the manuscript and approved the final manuscript for submission. PK is the guarantor of this manuscript.
This study was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) through a peer-reviewed operating grant (number RN125845–251412). The funding agencies did not have input into study design, data collection, interpretation of results, manuscript preparation or approval for submission.
Duality of interest
The authors declare that there is no duality of interest associated with this manuscript.
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