Obesity, Weight Gain in GDM Pregnancies Linked to ADHD in Offspring

Maternal obesity with excessive weight gain linked to increased risk for ADHD in offspring versus normal weight without excessive weight gain

TUESDAY, Sept. 13, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Among women with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), a joint effect of maternal obesity and excessive weight gain (EWG) appears to be associated with an increased risk for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in offspring, according to a study published online Sept. 8 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Verónica Perea, M.D., Ph.D., from Hospital Universitari Mútua de Terrassa in Spain, and colleagues examined the joint effect of maternal weight and EWG during pregnancy on the risk for ADHD in offspring of GDM pregnancies in a cohort of singleton births >22 weeks of gestation. Data were included for 1,036 children, with a median follow-up of 17.7 years.

The researchers found that 13 percent of the children were diagnosed with ADHD. The rates of ADHD according to pregestational maternal weight were 7.1, 11.4, 14.2, and 16.4 percent for underweight, normal weight, overweight, and obesity, respectively. Maternal obesity was independently associated with ADHD, but maternal overweight and EWG were not. On examination of the joint contribution of maternal weight and EWG, the risk for ADHD was highest for maternal obesity with EWG compared with normal weight without EWG. Pregestational obesity without EWG was no longer associated with ADHD.

“The results of this study suggest that the negative repercussions of EWG on children within the setting of a high-risk population (GDM with obesity) were not only observed during the prenatal period but also years later with a development of ADHD,” the authors write.

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