Ethnicity, Socioeconomic Status Linked To Gestational Diabetes

Ethnicity, Socioeconomic Status Linked To Gestational Diabetes
2 January 2009

New Australian research finds that some ethnic groups and women with lower socioeconomic status are at higher risk of developing diabetes while pregnant, or gestational diabetes.

The study found that 30 percent of women who develop gestational diabetes will go on to develop type 2 diabetes within the next 7 to 10 years.

"In some groups, the incidence may increase to 50 percent in 5 years," said Dr. Hidde P. van der Ploeg of the University of Sydney, Australia, in an interview with Reuters.

Dr. van der Ploeg and colleagues reviewed data on nearly a million births in New South Wales, Australia, between 1995 and 2005. During that time, the incidence of gestational diabetes jumped 45 percent, increasing from 3.0 to 4.4 percent.

The analysis showed that women born in South Asia were roughly four times more likely than women born in Australia to develop gestational diabetes. Meanwhile, women born in North Africa or Middle East were 2.4 times more likely to develop pregnancy-related diabetes.

Furthermore, women of lower socioeconomic status were 54 to 74 percent more likely to develop diabetes while pregnant that women in the highest socioeconomic status.

Increased age was also a significant risk factor, with those over 40 experiencing a six-fold increase of gestational diabetes compared to women in their 20s.

The researchers said that pregnancy-related diabetes is an important risk factor for type 2 diabetes, and ethnicity and socioeconomic status appear to significantly influence the risk of gestational diabetes.

"Cultural specific interventions should be developed to prevent the development of type 2 diabetes in these women at high risk," said van der Ploeg, "

The study was published in Diabetes Care, December 2008.
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