Early age at menarche and gestational diabetes mellitus risk: Results from the Healthy Baby Cohort study

Diabetes Metab. 2017 Jun;43(3):248-252. doi: 10.1016/j.diabet.2017.01.002. Epub 2017 Feb 1.


Aim: Early age at menarche has been reported to increase type 2 diabetes risk, but little is known of its impact on gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) risk. The aim of this study was to examine the association between age at menarche and plasma glucose levels as well as GDM risk.

Methods: A total of 6900 pregnant women from the Healthy Baby Cohort Study were included in our analysis. Age at menarche was self-reported and categorized into five groups (9-11, 12, 13, 14 and 15-18 years of age). GDM was diagnosed using the International Association of Diabetes and Pregnancy Study Groups criteria. Comparisons of plasma glucose levels according to age at menarche categories were performed using analysis of covariance. Logistic regression models were used to estimate the association between age at menarche and GDM risk.

Results: Of our 6900 participants, 1015 (14.7%) were diagnosed with GDM. Mean age at menarche was 13.1±1.2 years. Early age at menarche (9-11 years) was associated with higher fasting, 1-h and 2-h plasma glucose levels (all P<0.05) compared with menarche at age 13 years. Furthermore, early age at menarche was linked to increased GDM risk after adjusting for potential confounders (OR: 1.41, 95% CI: 1.06-1.87).

Conclusion: Early age at menarche is an independent risk factor for GDM and, as such, may help to identify women at higher GDM risk who would benefit from early preventative strategies.

Keywords: Body mass index; Gestational diabetes mellitus; Insulin resistance; Menarche; Risk factor.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Body Mass Index
  • Child
  • Diabetes, Gestational / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Menarche / physiology*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Pregnancy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Young Adult