Background. Intrauterine exposure to the metabolic alterations of maternal diabetes may increase the risk of later obesity. We determined whether offspring of mothers with diet-treated, gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) have an increased risk of childhood obesity and examined the relationship between childhood obesity and metabolic markers of GDM.
Methods. At a health maintenance organization in Seattle, WA, we reviewed medical records to obtain the life-time height and weight measurements of 524, 8- to 10-year-old children whose mothers had been screened for GDM. Maternal plasma glucose and triglyceride levels were obtained in midgestation 1 hour after ingestion of 50 g of glucose. Those with glucose screening levels ≥7.77 mmol/L (140 mg/dL) underwent a 3-hour, 100-g, oral glucose tolerance test to determine GDM status. Cord serum insulin levels also were obtained at birth. Obesity was defined as an average body mass index between 5 and 10 years of age at or above the 85th percentile for age and sex.
Results. The prevalence of obesity was 19% in the 58 offspring of mothers with diet-treated GDM and 24% in the 257 offspring of mothers with negative glucose screen values. There also was no difference in mean body mass index (adjusted for age and sex) between these two groups of offspring. Among all 524 offspring, there was no significant increase in the rate of offspring obesity according to the quartile of maternal screening glucose, triglyceride, oral glucose tolerance test, or cord serum insulin level.
Conclusion. Prenatal exposure to the metabolic effects of mild, diet-treated GDM does not increase the risk of childhood obesity.