Maternal Obesity and Offspring Diabetes (the MOOD study)

Researchers supported by Tommy’s are trying to find out why children born to obese mothers are more at risk of heart disease. Diabetes might be the answer.

Researchers supported by Tommy's have found that children born to obese mothers are more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes in adulthood. Type 2 diabetes is when the body stops being able to use insulin, a hormone that moves glucose from your blood into your cells to give the body energy. This either happens because the cells that make insulin stop producing it, or the body stops reacting properly to the insulin that is made.  We previously showed that children born to obese mothers are more likely to die prematurely from heart disease. As we already know that diabetes can make heart disease more likely, this might explain why these children are more at risk of dying early from heart disease.

Researchers linked together data from two databases: the Aberdeen Maternity and Neonatal Databank (AMND) and the Scottish Care Information Diabetes Collaboration (SCI-Diabetes). This allowed us to match up records of babies born to obese and normal weight mothers with any diagnosis of diabetes. While we found a link between obesity during pregnancy and the development of Type 2 diabetes, there was no increased risk of children developing Type 1 diabetes.

Following these results, we can make sure that babies born to obese mothers are identified early on as at risk of diabetes, and therefore help prevent early death from heart disease. More work is needed to help women have a healthy weight before becoming pregnant, through dietary changes and physical activity.

Researchers

Rebecca Reynolds, Marius Lahti, Jane Norman, Sohinee Bhattacharya, Robert Lindsay, Sarah Wild

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Funding

This study is fully funded by Tommy's and takes place in a Tommy's centre

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