New Research Suggests Link Between Autism and Obesity During Pregnancy
April 18, 2012
Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.
Email This Story
Healthy eating and regular exercise improves mind function, chronic illnesses, and various other health issues. But have you ever
stopped to consider how your health is affecting others? New research suggests that women who were obese during pregnancy were more likely to have autistic children.
The study conducted by UC Davis MIND Institute is the first of its kind. Researchers at the university studied approximately 1,000 California children, ages two to five and gained information from their mother’s medical records. They found that women who were obese during pregnancy were 67% more likely to give birth to an autistic child than those who were average weight. It was also found that obese mothers also faced double the risk of having children with other developmental delays such as ADHD, dyslexia, and physical disabilities.
This link is rationalized by the theory that if someone is 35lbs or more overweight, they are more likely to be at risk for inflammation and elevated levels of blood sugar. These two components may reach the fetus and damage the developing brain and organs.
The study also found that women who had diabetes while pregnant may have children who have “greater deficits in language comprehension and production and adaptive communication.”
“Over a third of U.S. women in their childbearing years are obese and nearly one-tenth have gestational or type 2 diabetes during pregnancy,” reported Paula Krakowaik, an epidemiologist at University of California. “Our finding that these material conditions may be linked with neurodevelopmental problems in children raises concerns and therefore may have serious public-health implications.”
Other factors have been linked to autism in previous studies such as genetics, a mother’s health history, and certain medications. While obesity is not the only cause to autism in children, it is a growing threat that needs to be taken into consideration by all pregnant mothers.