Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.


Maternal obesity and associated offspring diabetes mellitus


A large registry-based study found that maternal overweight and obesity are associated with incident type 2 diabetes mellitus in offspring. The results align with those of prospective cohort studies and emphasize a need for interventions that target maternal weight during very early gestation, to optimize maternal and offspring health.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1.

    Flegal, K. M., Carroll, M. D., Kit, B. K. & Ogden, C. L. Prevalence of obesity and trends in the distribution of body mass index among US adults, 1999–2010. JAMA 307, 491–497 (2012).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    March of Dimes. Obesity among women of childbearing age United States, 2007–2017. March of Dimes (2019).

  3. 3.

    Oken, E. & Gillman, M. W. Fetal origins of obesity. Obes. Res. 11, 496–506 (2003).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Dabelea, D. & Crume, T. Maternal environment and the transgenerational cycle of obesity and diabetes. Diabetes 60, 1849–1855 (2011).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Lahti-Pulkkinen, M. et al. Consequences of being overweight or obese during pregnancy on diabetes in the offspring: a record linkage study in Aberdeen. Scotland. Diabetologia (2019).

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Hivert, M. F., Rifas-Shiman, S. L., Gillman, M. W. & Oken, E. Greater early and mid-pregnancy gestational weight gains are associated with excess adiposity in mid-childhood. Obesity 24, 1546–1553 (2016).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Arslanian, S. et al. Evaluation and management of youth-onset type 2 diabetes: a position statement by the American Diabetes Association. Diabetes Care 41, 2648–2668 (2018).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Perng, W., Oken, E. & Dabelea, D. Developmental overnutrition and offspring obesity and type 2 diabetes. Diabetologia (in press).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    The RISE Consortium. Impact of insulin and metformin versus metformin alone on beta-cell function in youth with impaired glucose tolerance or recently diagnosed type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care 41, 1717–1725 (2018).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Dodd, J. M., Grivell, R. M., Crowther, C. A. & Robinson, J. S. Antenatal interventions for overweight or obese pregnant women: a systematic review of randomised trials. BJOG 117, 1316–1326 (2010).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Emily Oken.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Perng, W., Oken, E. Maternal obesity and associated offspring diabetes mellitus. Nat Rev Endocrinol 15, 630–632 (2019).

Download citation

Further reading


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing