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Offspring birth weight and risk of mortality from diabetes in mothers
  1. Chung-Yi Li1,2,
  2. Fung-Chang Sung3,
  3. Pi-Ching Hsieh1,
  4. Ming-Der Lee4,
  5. Tsung-Hsueh Lu5,
  6. Hua-Fen Chen6
  1. 1Department of Health Care Management, National Taipei College of Nursing, Taipei, Taiwan
  2. 2Department of Public Health, College of Public Health, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan
  3. 3Graduate Institute of Environmental Health College of Public Health, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan
  4. 4Graduate Institute of Long-Term Care, National Taipei College of Nursing, Taipei, Taiwan
  5. 5Graduate Institute of Public Health, College of Medicine, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan
  6. 6Department of Endocrinology, Far-Eastern Memorial Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan
  1. Correspondence to Dr Hua-Fen Chen, Department of Endocrinology, Far Eastern Memorial Hospital, 21, Sec 2, Nan-Ya South Road, Panchiao 220, Taipei County, Taiwan; hfchen{at}


Background Mothers with lower birth weight (LBW) offspring have been found to be associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD) morbidity, which shares many risk factors with diabetes.

Aims To investigate the relation between offspring birth weight and maternal risk of mortality from diabetes.

Methods A total of 1 400 383 singletons of primigravida registered in Taiwan between 1978 and 1987 were followed to the end of 2006. The offspring birth weight was assessed with and without standardisation for the gestational age of offspring. Cox model was used to estimate the HR of maternal diabetes mortality in relation to offspring birth weights.

Results Altogether, 812 (5.8%) mothers died of diabetes. Mothers with LBW (<2500 g) and macrosomia (>4000 g) offspring were both at increased risks of mortality from diabetes with HR 1.76 (95% CI 1.46 to 2.19) and 2.86 (95% CI 2.32 to 3.53), respectively. Similar results were seen while birth weight was standardised for gestational age.

Conclusions This cohort study found that mothers with LBW and macrosomia offspring had an increased mortality risk of diabetes. This relationship could be attributable to the possible pathway of intergenerational effects or maternal insulin resistance due to maladaptation to pregnancy.

  • Cohort studies
  • insulin resistance
  • low birth weight
  • diabetes
  • mortality
  • cohort mediabetes DI
  • low birth weight
  • mortality SI
  • women CG

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  • Chung-Yi Li and Fung-Chang Sung contributed equally to this manuscript.

  • Funding This work was supported by a grant from the National Scientific Council of Taiwan (NSC 96-2314-B-227-005-MY2).

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the Department of Health, Taiwan.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.