Journal Logo

Departments: News, Notes and Tips

Childhood Obesity Links to Gestational Diabetes

doi: 10.1097/NNE.0b013e3181ed826e
  • Free

A recent study determines that children born to obese mothers who developed gestational diabetes are more likely to be heavier at birth, be overweight, and be obese by the time they are 11 years old than are children born to mothers without this complication of pregnancy.

Dr Sandra Hummell and colleagues at The Technical University in Munich, Germany, examined data from German studies involving 1,420 children born from 1989 to 2000. In the study population, 232 infants were born to mothers with gestational diabetes, 757 to women with type 1 diabetes, and 431 to nondiabetic mothers. Body measurements and blood samples from the children from birth until age 14 years were also analyzed.

At ages 2, 8, and 11 years, the children born to obese mothers were more likely to be overweight. By the time these children reached age 11 years, 46%were overweight. Only 12%of the children born to nonobese mothers were overweight by this age. Hummel and colleagues note that diet and physical activity were not evaluated for either the mothers or the children.

This study emphasizes that women should be encouraged to become lean and fit prior to pregnancy. First Lady Michelle Obama has already recognized this strategy for confronting childhood obesity. The First Lady emphasized that women need to begin pregnancy at a healthy weight and try to maintain a healthy weight throughout pregnancy. Nurses are advised to repeat and support this recommendation.

Nursing students should be aware of the increased health risks associated for overweight women and their children strongly associated with gestational diabetes. Perhaps more focus in our nursing curricula on safe and effective weight loss and weight management strategies during pregnancy would benefit our students as they counsel women during childbearing years.

Source: Lowe RM. Combating Childhood obesity may start in the womb. May 14, 2010. National Post: Health. Available at Accessed May 17, 2010.

Submitted by: Robin Pattillo, PhD, RN, News Editor at

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.