Big babies born to mothers with diabetes have nearly three times the normal risk of growing overweight or obese, scientists have discovered.
The same study indicated that breastfeeding in the first five months of life reduced the chances of a child being obese or overweight by 25%.
The researchers analyzed more than 81,000 pre-school children born between January 2005 and August 20013 in Alberta, Canada.
Children were grouped into different categories according to their height and weight, their size at birth and whether or not mothers had diabetes during pregnancy.
The analysis showed that compared to normal-born children for diabetes-free mothers, those who were older than average at birth and whose mothers had diabetes were 2.79 times more likely to be overweight or obese.
Additional studies showed that being large for gestational age (LGA) at birth contributed with 39% to the risk of childhood obesity.
Researchers took into account cases of type 1 and type 2 diabetes. The link with childhood obesity was stronger for mothers with type 2 disease.
Writing in the journal Diabetologia, researchers led by Dr. Padma Kaul of the University of Alberta concluded, "We hope these findings reinforce the public health campaigns that advise women planning to become pregnant, such as smoking, drinking, and other choices lifestyle, weight before pregnancy and weight gain and blood sugar control during pregnancy can have a significant impact on the future health of your children. "
– Press Association