Study Warns Of Autism Risk For Children Of Obese Mothers

There is a new study which suggests that moms who are obese or diabetic are more likely to have a child with autism or another developmental problem.  This study looked at about 1,000 mothers, half of whom had a child with an autism spectrum disorder.  The rest had a child with a developmental delay unrelated to autism or no developmental problem at all.  The researchers were trying to determine whether autism or some other developmental delay was more likely if the mother was obese, diabetic or had high blood pressure during pregnancy.  It was discovered that, if the women had one of these three conditions, the increased risk for her child was about 60%.  Obesity, which increases the risk of high blood pressure and diabetes during pregnany, affected more than 20% of the mothers who had an autistic child in the study.  The results also suggest that both obesity and diabetes are affecting early brain development.  That could be because these conditions are associated with inflammation in developing tissues, including those in the brain.  Another possibility is that obesity and diabetes are reducing the nutrients reaching the fetus by reducing the body’s ability to use insulin.  In the U.S., about one-third of women of child-bearing age are obese, and one child in 88 now has an autism spectrum disorder, according to government statistics.


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