Combination of Obesity and Diabetes in Pregnancy Increases Risk of Autism in Kids by Four Times

Combination of Obesity and Diabetes in Pregnancy Increases Risk of Autism in Kids by Four Times

There is nothing new in saying the fact that pregnant women should eat less of sugar as they are at high risk of diabetes. But, a new study has come up with findings that obesity, diabetes during pregnancy linked to autism. Researchers have revealed that mothers-to-be who are both obese and diabetic have a higher risk of giving birth to a child with autism than healthy women. On analyzing more than 2,700 mother-child pairs, researchers said that both the conditions when combined increase the risk of child being diagnosed with autism by four times.

The study reports maternal obesity or diabetes was linked to twice the odds of giving birth to a child with autism compared to mothers of normal weight without diabetes. Dr. Xiaobin Wang, director of the Center on Early Life Origins of Disease at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, said many studies conducted in past have shown that maternal obesity and diabetes have an adverse impact on developing fetuses and their long-term metabolic health. Wang said the new findings provide evidence that maternal obesity and diabetes impact the long-term neural development of their children.

Though, the study does not actually prove that obesity and diabetes in tandem cause the autism, it only found an association between the two. During the research period, researchers tracked more than 2,700 births. They found evidence that autism risk may start before birth. As per the statistical figure released, more than 33% of women of reproductive age are obese, while almost 10% struggle with diabetes in the United States. Almost 4% of the babies were diagnosed on the autism spectrum. About 5% had some form of intellectual disability, and nearly one-third were diagnosed with another developmental disability. The authors point that the prevalence of autism now affecting 1 in 68 U.S. kids has skyrocketed since the 1960s, alongside the incidence of obesity and diabetes in women of reproductive age.

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