Acta Diabetologica

, Volume 56, Issue 7, pp 723–728 | Cite as

Maternal height and risk of gestational diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis

  • Ahmed Arafa
  • Jia-Yi DongEmail author
Review Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Pregnancy and diabetes



Identifying women at high risk of developing gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is a public health interest. This study aims to investigate the association between maternal height and risk of GDM through meta-analysis.


We retrieved the studies that assessed maternal height in relation to GDM. Pooled risk estimates of the included articles and their 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) were calculated using a fixed- or random-effects model. Subgroup analyses were conducted according to study design and study location. Quality of studies was determined using the Newcastle–Ottawa Scale. Publication bias was detected using the Egger’s and Begg’s tests.


A total of 10 studies including 7 cohort and 3 cross-sectional studies with a total of 126,094 women were included for meta-analysis. Combined, each 5-cm increase in height was associated with about 20% reduction in risk of GDM [pooled odds ratio = 0.80, (95% CI 0.76, 0.85)]. The analysis revealed high heterogeneity between studies which dissolved after subgroup analysis by study design. This significant association did not differ between Asian and non-Asian populations. Egger’s and Begg’s tests showed little evidence of publication bias.


The present meta-analysis supports the conception that short stature is associated with GDM. Further studies of high quality are needed to confirm the findings.


Height Stature Gestational diabetes Meta-analysis 


Author contributions

AA collected the data, analyzed the data, and wrote the manuscript. JYD designed the study, collected the data, analyzed the data, conducted the technique review, and reviewed and edited the manuscript. JYD is the guarantor of this work and, as such, had full access to all the data in the study and takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.


This work was partly supported by Japan Society for the Promotion of Science KAKENHI Grant Numbers A18H063910 and T19K214700. Role of the Funder: The funder had no role in the conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data; and preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript findings.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Statement of human and animal rights

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by the any of the authors.

Informed consent

For this type of study informed consent is not required.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia S.r.l., part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Public Health, Department of Social MedicineOsaka University Graduate School of MedicineSuitaJapan
  2. 2.Department of Public Health, Faculty of MedicineBeni-Suef UniversityBeni SuefEgypt

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