AIMS/HYPOTHESIS: The aim of this study was to examine the association between maternal gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) and childhood obesity at age 9-11 years in 12 countries around the world.
METHODS: A multinational cross-sectional study of 4740 children aged 9-11 years was conducted. Maternal GDM was diagnosed according to the ADA or WHO criteria. Height and waist circumference were measured using standardised methods. Weight and body fat were measured using a portable Tanita SC-240 Body Composition Analyzer. Multilevel modelling was used to account for the nested nature of the data.
RESULTS: The prevalence of reported maternal GDM was 4.3%. The overall prevalence of childhood obesity, central obesity and high body fat were 12.3%, 9.9% and 8.1%, respectively. The multivariable-adjusted (maternal age at delivery, education, infant feeding mode, gestational age, number of younger siblings, child unhealthy diet pattern scores, moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, sleeping time, sedentary time, sex and birthweight) odds ratios among children of GDM mothers compared with children of non-GDM mothers were 1.53 (95% CI 1.03, 2.27) for obesity, 1.73 (95% CI 1.14, 2.62) for central obesity and 1.42 (95% CI 0.90, 2.26) for high body fat. The positive association was still statistically significant for central obesity after additional adjustment for current maternal BMI but was no longer significant for obesity and high body fat.
CONCLUSIONS/INTERPRETATION: Maternal GDM was associated with increased odds of childhood obesity at 9-11 years old but this association was not fully independent of maternal BMI.