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Risk of Developing Type 2 Diabetes Starts in the Womb

The Short of It

Almost 30 million people are living with diabetes. But would you believe your risk for developing this potentially life threatening disease starts in utero?

The Lowdown

Researchers at the Lund University in Sweden have established a link between exposures in the uterus and the potential to develop Type 2 diabetes later in life. Their findings are published in the journal "Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity: Targets and Therapy."

So-called fetal programming indicates the need for a shift in how we think about this life altering disease. Currently, guidelines point to lifestyle modification for adults to avoid developing diabetes—stay fit, eat right and don't gain excess weight.

But the lead researchers behind this new study urge health care providers to change how they counsel patients.

"This review describes the evidence showing that there are other factors that may be intervened upon much earlier in life and serves as a precursor to upcoming work from Lund University and at the University of Copenhagen. We will try to identify novel bio markers that detect primordial defects arising in pregnancy or early childhood. The results of this work should help inform guidelines to substantially improve prevention of diabetes," explains co-author Angela Estampador.

The Upshot

Research indicates that babies born to either overweight or underweight mothers are at the greatest risk of developing diabetes later in life. This finding simply underscores the importance of maintaining a healthy amount of weight gain during pregnancy, as well as eating a nutritious diet. If one's gestational glucose concentrations are frequently too high, this can adversely affect baby's health. Is that really worth eating two slices of cheesecake after dinner every night?

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