From Medscape Medical News > Psychiatry
Maternal Obesity Linked to Autism, Other Developmental Disorders
April 12, 2012 — Metabolic conditions in pregnant women may be associated with increased risk for autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders in their offspring, new researchsuggests.
In a cohort study of more than 1000 children between the ages of 2 and 5 years, those who had mothers classified as having "metabolic conditions" (which included diabetes, hypertension, and obesity) during pregnancy were at a significantly higher risk of developing an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and developmental delays than the children with mothers who did not have metabolic conditions.
In addition, mothers who were obese were 1.6 times more likely to have a child with ASDs and more than twice as likely to have a child with other developmental problems. Maternal diabetes alone was associated with significant risk for overall developmental problems and lower expressive language skills in their children.
"The prevalence of obesity and diabetes among US women of childbearing age is 34% and 8.7%, respectively," senior author Irva Hertz-Piccioto, PhD, University of California, Davis, and colleagues write.
"With obesity rising steadily, [our] results appear to raise serious public health concerns," they add.
The study was published online April 9 in Pediatrics..