Association of exposure to diabetes in utero with adiposity and fat distribution in a multiethnic population of youth: the Exploring Perinatal Outcomes among Children (EPOCH) Study

Diabetologia. 2011 Jan;54(1):87-92. doi: 10.1007/s00125-010-1925-3. Epub 2010 Oct 17.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adiposity / physiology*
  • Adolescent
  • African Americans
  • Child
  • Diabetes, Gestational / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Obesity / physiopathology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / epidemiology
  • Whites