Global prevalence of overweight/obesity and gestational diabetes (GDM) is increasing. In pregnant women both conditions affect offspring’s later health. Overweight/obesity is a risk factor of GDM; to what extent maternal overweight/obesity explains long-term effects of GDM in offspring is unknown.
To evaluate effects of maternal pre-pregnancy overweight/obesity (BMI ⩾25 kg/m2) and GDM, occurring together or separately, on body composition among adult offspring.
Participants include 891 individuals aged 24.1 years (s.d. 1.4) from two longitudinal cohort studies (ESTER and AYLS). Adult offspring of normoglycemic mothers with overweight/obesity (ONOO, n=153), offspring of mothers with GDM (OGDM; n=191) and controls (n=547) underwent anthropometric measurements and bioimpedance analysis. GDM was diagnosed by oral glucose tolerance test. Data were analyzed by linear regression models adjusted for confounders.
Compared with controls, ONOO-participants showed higher BMI [men 1.64 kg/m2 (95% confidence interval 0.57, 2.72); women 1.41 kg/m2 (0.20, 2.63)] and fat percentage [men 2.70% (0.99, 4.41); women 2.98% (0.87, 5.09)] with larger waist circumferences [men 3.34 cm (0.68, 5.99); women 3.09 cm (0.35, 5.83)]. Likewise, OGDM-participants showed higher fat percentage [men 1.97% (0.32, 3.61); women 2.32% (0.24, 4.41)]. BMI was non-significantly different between OGDM-participants and controls [men 0.88kg/m2 (−0.17, 1.92); women 0.82 kg/m2 (−0.39, 2.04)]. Also waist circumferences were larger [men 2.63 cm (−0.01, 5.28); women 3.39 cm (0.60, 6.18)], this difference was statistically significant in OGDM-women only. Differences in body composition measures were stronger among offspring of women with both GDM and overweight/obesity. For instance, fat mass was higher among OGDM-participants of overweight mothers [men 4.24 kg (1.36, 7.11) vs controls; women 5.22 kg (1.33, 9.11)] than OGDM participants of normal weight mothers [men 1.50 kg (−2.11, 5.11) higher vs controls; women 1.57 kg (−3.27, 6.42)].
Maternal pre-pregnancy overweight and GDM are associated with unhealthy body size and composition in offspring over 20 years later. Effects of maternal pre-pregnancy overweight appear more pronounced.