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Re: [IP] Weight at Birth

Hi people

Ran across the following:

Small babies face twice risk of diabetes -US study

By David Morgan 

PHILADELPHIA, Feb 15 (Reuters) - The smallest newborns are more than twice as
likely to develop diabetes in middle and old age as are those who begin life
as large babies, U.S. health researchers said on Monday. 

In the broadest study to date on the link between birthweight and type-2
diabetes, doctors in Boston examined the medical histories of nearly 70,000
women and found that the risk of disease changed little after adjustments for
other factors such as ethnic origin, socioeconomic status and lifestyle. 

Type-2 diabetes is a form of the disease that usually occurs gradually after
the age of 40. 

The study provides new evidence that malnutrition causes foetuses to undergo
metabolic changes that can leave people vulnerable to disease later in life,
even if children enjoy a normal diet after birth. 

The research, conducted by the Channing Laboratory in Boston, appeared in the
Feb. 16 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine, a journal published by the
Philadelphia-based American College of Physicians. 

In an editorial that accompanied the study, Dr. David Barker of the University
of Southampton in England said foetal malnutrition also has been linked to
other illnesses associated with ageing, including coronary heart disease,
stroke and high blood pressure. 

``Even minor modifications to the diet of pregnant animals may be followed by
lifelong changes in the offspring in ways that can be related to human
disease,'' wrote Barker, a leading authority on the foetal origins of adult
health problems. 

Most earlier studies of birthweight and diabetes conducted in Britain, Jamaica
and India either were too small to assess the risk of disease accurately or
produced results that were skewed by other factors from childhood and

The U.S. study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, relied on
statistics from the Nurses Health Study, an ongoing cohort survey of more than
121,000 registered nurses born from 1921 to 1946. Seven years ago, 69,526
nurses who had not had diabetes when the study began in 1976 reported their
birthweights to researchers, who found 2,123 confirmed cases of type-2
diabetes among them. 

Women who weighed less than 5.0 pounds (2.25 kg) at birth were found to be
1.83 times as likely to contract type-2 diabetes as those who weighed 7.1 to
8.5 pounds (3.2 to 3.8 kg) as newborns, and more than twice as likely as those
who weighed over 10 pounds (4.5 kg). 

Researchers said the connection between birthweight and diabetes was even
stronger among women who reported no parental history of diabetes, with low
birthweight children facing nearly four times the risk of the heaviest

Barker castigated public-health policymakers for not recognising the possible
importance of low-birthweight studies in preventing type-2 diabetes, which has
reached epidemic proportions among the urban and migrant populations of India.

``It seems that the strategy described by the National Institutes of Health is
to ignore the issue,'' he said. 

13:27 02-15-99 

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