Maternal obesity and diabetes are linked to children’s autism and similar disorders

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 17 April 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e2768
  1. Janice Hopkins Tanne
  1. 1New York

Children born to mothers who had metabolic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and obesity during pregnancy were more likely to have autism spectrum disorders, according to a population based, case-control study of children born in California.

Nearly 60% of US women of childbearing age are overweight, a third are obese, and 16% have metabolic syndrome, says the paper, published in Pediatrics (doi:10.1542/peds.2011-2583). Recent studies show that 1.1% of US pregnancies are complicated by chronic hypertension. In California 1.3% of pregnant women had type 2 diabetes and another 7.4% had gestational diabetes.

These conditions “may be associated with neurodevelopmental problems …

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