The risk of high blood glucose levels that mothers pass on to their children is a well-established fact in several studies. Understanding the epidemiology is a key determinant of neonatal health particularly in case of type 1 diabetes, the most popular metabolic disorder in childhood. Children are at an increased risk of metabolic syndrome that develops into autoimmune disease if the mother had diabetes notably as a result of high blood glucose levels in their uterus. The correlation has been hinted in myriad previous studies but validating the results was not earlier possible due to the lack of a sufficiently large database tracking children’s health. For the first time, a team of scientists at Helmholtz Zentrum München, a German Research Center for Environmental Health, and the Technical University of Munich in a comprehensive research spanning three large studies found that children whose mothers have type 1 diabetes display a potentially high risk of being obese and also an increased insulin resistance.
The findings are published recently in the monthly peer-reviewed medical journal Diabetologia.
Children Twice as Likely to Become Obese if Mothers have Type 1 Diabetes
The scientists tracked the health data of 2,800 children who have first-degree relatives with type 1 diabetes till they attained the age of 18, closely tracking their body weight and metabolic status. The researchers concluded from the datasets that children who have mothers with the disease exhibited a higher body mass index than children whose mothers were not diabetics. The risk was almost double in one of the studies. In addition, the higher risk was also passed on if the mother had higher waist circumference, risk for insulin resistance, and blood glucose levels in fasting mode.
Findings Pave way to More Effective Management Strategies for Type 1 Diabetes in Children
Adjustments were made for such factors as the socioeconomic status and high birth weight of the mothers. The researchers also factored in the affect that child’s own metabolism can have on the correlation by tracking metabolomics data from 500 of them, but there wasn’t any significant link.
The study findings shed light on approaches pediatricians need to follow for an early detection of type 1 diabetes in children and frame strategies accordingly for the timely management.