Aims/hypothesis: To evaluate whether exposure to maternal gestational diabetes (GDM) is associated with adiposity and fat distribution in a multiethnic population of children.
Methods: Retrospective cohort study of 82 children exposed to maternal GDM and 379 unexposed youths 6-13 years of age with measured BMI, waist circumference, skinfold thickness, and visceral and subcutaneous abdominal fat.
Results: Exposure to maternal GDM was associated with higher BMI (p = 0.02), larger waist circumference (p = 0.004), more subcutaneous abdominal fat (p = 0.01) and increased subscapular to triceps skinfold thickness ratio (p = 0.01) in models adjusted for age, sex, race/ethnicity and Tanner stage. Adjustment for socioeconomic factors, birthweight and gestational age, maternal smoking during pregnancy and current diet and physical activity did not influence associations; however, adjustment for maternal pre-pregnancy BMI attenuated all associations.
Conclusions/interpretation: Exposure to maternal GDM is associated with increased overall and abdominal adiposity, and a more central fat distribution pattern in 6- to 13-year-old youths from a multi-ethnic population, providing further support for the fetal overnutrition hypothesis.