Obesity is the leading cause of type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases used to predict the health of a city, state or nation - because diabetes often leads to other chronic health conditions like heart and kidney diseases. Type 2 diabetes is the result of inadequate nutrition in the womb, when a fetus was developing and unable to gain enough weight. Being born at a low birthweight is one of the risk factors for type 2 diabetes.

Gestational diabetes is another form of diabetes, but this form occurs only while a woman is pregnant. This happens because the pancreas is not working properly and cannot regulate the amount of blood sugar within the mother’s body.  When this happens during pregnancy, both mother and baby have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes after the child is born. Children with mothers who had gestational diabetes have been found to have more belly fat and a larger waist size at ages 6-13, compared with children whose mothers did not have gestational diabetes.

Ge, Z., Zhang, C., Schatten, H., & Sun, Q. (2014). Maternal Diabetes Mellitus and the Origin of Non-Communicable Diseases in Offspring: The Role of Epigenetics1. Biology of Reproduction,90(6).

Inadera, H. (2013). Developmental origins of obesity and type 2 diabetes: Molecular aspects and role of chemicals. Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine,18(3), 185-197.

Wicklow, B. A., & Sellers, E. A. (2015). Maternal health issues and cardio-metabolic outcomes in the offspring: A focus on Indigenous populations. Best Practice & Research Clinical Obstetrics & Gynaecology,29(1), 43-53.

Yarmolinsky, J., Mueller, N. T., Duncan, B. B., Chor, D., Bensenor, I. M., Griep, R. H., . . . Schmidt, M. I. (2016). Sex-specific associations of low birth weight with adult-onset diabetes and measures of glucose homeostasis: Brazilian Longitudinal Study of Adult Health. Scientific Reports,6(1).