A research team at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore found that obesity, diabetes during pregnancy are tied to major risk of autism in kids. Researchers found that an obese mother has twice the chance of delivering a child with autism than a non-obese woman.
The study also unveiled that if we couple obesity with diabetes during pregnancy the risk of delivering a kid with the autism spectrum disorder (ASD) more than quadruples.
Dr. Xiaobin Wang, lead author of the study, said that though autism is not as prevalent as obesity and other pediatric conditions during childhood, its impact on the child and their family’s lives is tremendous.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that one in 68 kids are eventually diagnosed with autism or other conditions in the ASD range such as Asperger syndrome. In other words, about 1.5 percent of American kids would be diagnosed with the condition.
But the recent study revealed that risk of ASD jumps to three percent if mothers were obese or had diabetes during pregnancy. Furthermore, in pregnant women that were both diabetic and obese while carrying their children, the risk of delivering an autistic child jumps to 5 or 6 percent.
The study involved more than 2,700 mothers and their children, whose data was stored in a database at the Boston Medical Center from 1998 through 2014. About 65 percent of infants had not been diagnosed with autism, while slightly more than 100 kids had.
The data also revealed that prematurely born boys with a low weight had the highest risk of developing the condition. The mothers of autistic children were more likely to be obese, diabetic and slightly older than mothers of healthy kids. Diabetes was usually spotted in those women before conception or during pregnancy.
According to the research, obesity in mothers boosted risk of autism in children by 92 percent while diabetes tripled the risk. The risk of having a child with ASD jumped fivefold if mothers had diabetes before conception, and fourfold if they developed the condition while they were pregnant.
The research team, however, acknowledged that they only found a link between maternal diabetes and/or obesity and risk of autism in children. Researchers couldn’t tell why that happens. They believe that both maternal conditions could boost inflammation and promote nutritional and hormonal disturbances that may hinder brain development in children.
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