Gestational diabetes and cardiovascular risk factors in the offspring: results from a cross-sectional study

Diabet Med. 2012 Mar;29(3):378-84. doi: 10.1111/j.1464-5491.2011.03454.x.


Background: While the association of gestational diabetes mellitus and abnormal glucose tolerance is beyond doubt, its associations with other cardiovascular disease risk factors in the offspring are less clearly established. Some of these associations, in particular overweight in the offspring, might be confounded by maternal overweight.

Methods: Data on 12,542 children in the age of 3-17 years with full information about gestational diabetes mellitus and maternal BMI were available from the German nationwide KiGGS study. We calculated linear and logistic regression models for measurements of body composition, blood pressure, HbA(1c) and cholesterol values in the offspring with gestational diabetes mellitus as the explanatory variable, with and without adjustment for maternal BMI.

Results: The prevalence of gestational diabetes mellitus in the dataset was 2.2%. Unadjusted regression analyses suggested weak positive effects of gestational diabetes mellitus on body composition measurements [e.g. a mean increase in BMI standard deviation scores (SDS) of 0.17 units (95% confidence interval: 0.03, 0.30)]. After adjustment for maternal BMI, the observed associations almost disappeared [e.g. BMI SDS: 0.07 (-0.06, 0.20)]. With respect to blood pressure and cholesterol, no potential effects of gestational diabetes mellitus were observed in both unadjusted and adjusted models.

Conclusion: Gestational diabetes mellitus does not appear to have a relevant effect on cardiovascular disease correlates such as blood pressure or cholesterol levels in children, and the potential effect of gestational diabetes mellitus on body composition seems to be widely explainable by maternal BMI.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Blood Pressure*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / blood*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cholesterol / blood*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes, Gestational / blood*
  • Diabetes, Gestational / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Glucose Intolerance
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mothers*
  • Obesity / blood*
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Pregnancy
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors


  • Blood Glucose
  • Cholesterol