Obesity and Diabetes during pregnancy can increase the risk of giving birth to a child suffering from autism according to a new study.
Diabetes and Obesity in pregnancy are a deadly combination which can increase the risk of giving birth to a child with autism as compared to women without diabetes. Both the conditions if present individually doubled the risk of the birth of an autistic child. This conclusion was arrived after the researchers looked at more than 2700 mother-child pairs.
Study author Dr. Xiaobin Wang, director of the Center on Early Life Origins of Disease at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore said that the conclusions were not unexpected as earlier studies had indicated maternal obesity and diabetes having an adverse effect on the developing fetuses.
Wang added evidence is now available about how maternal obesity and diabetes also impact the long-term neural development of their children. The study, however, does not directly indict obesity and diabetes in tandem to cause autism but found a clear association.
The study will have far-reaching effects especially in the US where according to latest reports more than one-third of women of reproductive age are obese while almost 10 percent struggle with diabetes.
Since the sixties, the number of autistic kids in the US has shot up and today 1 in 68 US kids has been afflicted with autism. It could be a result of increased incidence of obesity and diabetes in women of reproductive age; the authors point out.
The study was published online Jan. 29 in the journal Pediatrics involved children born at Boston Medical Center between 1998 and 2014. All the 2700 mothers were interviewed one to three days after delivery and their obesity and diabetic status were noted. The babies were tracked for not less than six years. 4 percent of the children were diagnosed with autism. 5 % had some form of intellectual deformity, and one-third was diagnosed with some developmental disability.