Increased body fat percentage and physical inactivity are independent predictors of gestational diabetes mellitus in South Asian women

Eur J Clin Nutr. 2007 Jun;61(6):736-42. doi: 10.1038/sj.ejcn.1602574. Epub 2006 Dec 20.


Objective: This study aims to identify lifestyle predictors of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) in South Asian women. Pre-gravid body mass index, body composition, rate of weight gain during pregnancy, physical activity (PA) and dietary intake were studied.

Design: Prospective cohort study (n=611) of South Asian women at Aga Khan University Hospital antenatal clinic in Karachi, Pakistan. Weight, height and body fat % were measured and data on PA, diet and socio-economic covariates were collected at baseline. A glucose screen was performed at 29.8+/-2.6 weeks.

Results: Using logistic regression analysis for the full cohort, the risk of GDM increased with older maternal age (odds ratio (OR) 1.13, confidence interval (CI) 1.06-1.21), increased body fat % (OR 1.07, CI 1.03-1.13) and the risk was inversely associated with PA (100 kcal) (OR 0.79-0.99, CI 0.89). Using a nested case (n=49) control (n=98) design to study dietary intake, the risk of GDM decreased with increasing protein (% energy) in the diet (OR 0.75, CI 0.60-0.95).

Conclusions: Body fat %, physical inactivity and, possibly, diet quality are important modifiable risk factors for GDM. 2006.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / physiopathology*
  • Adult
  • Body Composition / physiology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diabetes, Gestational / epidemiology*
  • Diabetes, Gestational / etiology
  • Dietary Proteins / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Proteins / adverse effects
  • Exercise* / physiology
  • Female
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Logistic Models
  • Maternal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena / physiology*
  • Pakistan
  • Pregnancy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Weight Gain / physiology*


  • Dietary Proteins