Children of obese mothers with diabetes are particularly at risk of autism
Obesity affects many people in Germany and obesity can cause numerous health problems, which is why we should all make sure that we maintain a healthy body weight. Scientists have now determined that expectant mothers need to keep an eye on their weight. Because the children of overweight mothers are twice as likely to develop autism.
A healthy body weight helps us to avoid many health problems. Expectant mothers in particular should make sure that they are not overweight during pregnancy. A new investigation now found that children of such mothers have an increased risk of developing autism. The American researchers published the results of their investigation in the specialist journal "Pedriatrics".
Risk of having a child with autism is almost doubled
All people should make sure that they maintain a normal body weight, as the consequences of being overweight can be very uncomfortable for our health. For overweight women who want children, there is yet another reason to lose weight. Because overweight in pregnancy is associated with an almost twice as high risk for children to develop autism later in life, say scientists from "Johns Hopkins University". The researchers had conducted a study on the consequences of being overweight in pregnancy, analyzing the data from around 3,000 mothers and their children. The study started in 1998 and ended in 2014.
Risk of autism starts in the womb
Every 68th child in the United States has an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), experts from the United States Health Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) claim. Compared to conventional childhood diseases such as obesity and asthma, an autism spectrum disorder occurs relatively rarely in the US population, explains Dr. Xiaobin Wang. The personal, family and social effects of ASD are enormous. Thus, it is particularly dramatic that the children of overweight mothers have an increased risk of developing autism. The risk of such children developing autism increases to around 3 percent if the mothers are overweight or have diabetes during pregnancy, the researchers say.
Doctors point out that the risk increased to almost 6 percent if the mothers were obese and also had diabetes. Our research shows that the risk of autism starts in the womb, says Dr. Daniele Fallin from the "Bloomberg School of Mental Health". It is important to find out how the combination of overweight and diabetes affects the health of the fetus, the researchers add. Although the link between autism and maternal health is not fully understood, hormones linked to diabetes could affect the fetus' brain. Children diagnosed with ASD were mostly preterm babies who were born with a low birth weight. The mothers were mostly older, overweight or suffered from diabetes during their pregnancy, the American scientists explain. (as)