Children of women with obesity, diabetes more likely to have ADHD: Study

The researchers found children of women with gestational diabetes and obesity were twice as likely to have ADHD compared to those born to mothers without obesity.

BySumit Jha

Published Sep 12, 2022 | 8:00 AM Updated Sep 12, 2022 | 8:00 AM

Pregnant women

Children of women with gestational diabetes and obesity are more likely to develop Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) compared to those whose mothers did not have obeseity, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

ADHD is a cognitive disorder that affects 2-7 percent of children globally.

The researchers did not observe a higher ADHD risk in children of women with gestational diabetes and obesity if the weight gained during pregnancy was within the normal range.

In India, a 2013 study conducted in Coimbatore found ADHD prevalence in children to be higher than the global estimate, at 11.32 percent. The highest prevalence was found in ages 9 (26.4 percent) and 10 (25 percent).

The study showed that more males (66.7 percent) were found to have ADHD.

Children with ADHD have poor academic performance and behavioural difficulty, and also have problems with reading and writing.

“Our study found pregnant women with obesity and gestational diabetes had children with long-term mental health disorders such as ADHD,” said Veronica Perea, a co-author of the study, in a statement.

“We did not find this association when these women gained a healthy amount of weight during pregnancy,” she added.

The researchers studied 1,036 children born to women with gestational diabetes. Around 13 percent of these children were diagnosed with ADHD.

“It’s important for clinicians to counsel their patients on the importance of healthy weight gain during pregnancy,” Perea said.