The impact of in utero exposure to diabetes on childhood body mass index growth trajectories: the EPOCH study

J Pediatr. 2011 Jun;158(6):941-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2010.12.007. Epub 2011 Jan 15.


Objective: To examine associations between exposure to maternal diabetes in utero and body mass index (BMI) growth trajectories from birth through 13 years of age among a diverse cohort of youth.

Study design: Mixed linear effects models were constructed to assess differences in BMI and BMI growth velocity from birth through 13 years of age for 95 subjects exposed to diabetes in utero and 409 unexposed subjects enrolled in a retrospective cohort study.

Results: The overall BMI growth trajectory (adjusted for sex and race/ethnicity) was not significantly different for exposed and unexposed subjects from birth through 26 months of age (P = .48). However, the overall growth trajectory from 27 months of age through 13 years differed by exposure status (P = .008), adjusted for sex and race/ethnicity. The difference was primarily due to a significantly higher BMI growth velocity among exposed youth between 10 and 13 years, increasing by 4.56 kg/m² compared with 3.51 kg/m² in the unexposed (P = .005). Control for demographic variables, socioeconomic factors, and maternal prepregnancy BMI did not alter the observed associations.

Conclusions: Exposure to maternal diabetes in utero accelerates BMI growth in late childhood, thus increasing long-term obesity risk.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Body Mass Index
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diabetes, Gestational / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Maternal Exposure
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / etiology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors