DAVIS, Calif. (CBS/AP) Autism is more likely to occur in children whose mothers were obese while pregnant, new research suggests.
The study, one of the first of its kind, involved about 1,000 California children, ages 2 to 5. Researchers affiliated with the UC Davis MIND Institute looked at their mothers’ medical records and examined the association between obesity and autism. Women who were obese during pregnancy were about 67 percent more likely than normal-weight women to have autistic children, the study showed. Obese moms also faced double the risk of having children with other developmental delays.
Obesity isn’t the only risk factor found for pregnant moms in the study. Researchers also looked at prevalence of gestational diabetes and found pregnant moms with diabetes had nearly 2 1/3 times the chance of having a child with developmental delays compared with healthy mothers. Although the proportion of diabetic mothers who had a child with autism was higher, the numbers did not reach statistical significance.
The study was published online in the April 9 issue of Pediatrics.