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Sex-differences in the Metabolic Health of Offspring of Parents with Diabetes: A Record-linkage Study

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Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0134883
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 26 Aug 2015


Maternal diabetes in pregnancy affects offspring health. The impact of parental diabetes on offspring health is unclear. We investigated the impact of parental diabetes on the metabolic-health of adult-offspring who did not themselves have diabetes. Data from the Generation Scotland: Scottish Family Health Study, a population-based family cohort, were record-linked to subjects’ own diabetes medical records. From F0-parents, we identified F1-offspring of: mothers with diabetes (OMD, n = 409), fathers with diabetes (OFD, n = 468), no parent with diabetes (ONoPD, n = 2489). Metabolic syndrome, body, biochemical measurements and blood-pressures were compared between F1-offspring groups by sex. A higher proportion of female OMD had metabolic syndrome than female OFD or ONoPD (P<0.0001). In female offspring, predictors of metabolic syndrome were: having a mother with diabetes (OR = 1.78, CI 1.03–3.07, [reference ONoPD]), body mass index (BMI, OR = 1.21, CI 1.13–1.30) and age (OR = 1.03, CI 1.01–1.06). In male offspring, predictors of metabolic syndrome were: BMI (OR = 1.18, CI 1.09–1.29) and percent body-fat (OR = 1.12, CI 1.05–1.19). In both sexes, OMD had higher blood-pressures than OFD (P<0.0001). In females, OMD had higher glucose (P<0.0001) and percent body-fat (P<0.0001) compared with OFD or ONoPD. OMD and OFD both had increased waist-measurements (P<0.0001), BMI (P<0.0001) and percent body-fat (P<0.0001) compared with ONoPD. Female OMD and OFD had lower HDL-cholesterol levels (P<0.0001) than female ONoPD. Parental diabetes is associated with higher offspring-BMI and body-fat. In female offspring, maternal diabetes increased the odds of metabolic syndrome, even after adjusting for BMI. Further investigations are required to determine the mechanisms involved.

    Research areas

  • Adolescent, Adult, Adult Children, Blood Pressure, Body Mass Index, Cohort Studies, Comorbidity, Diabetes Mellitus, Diabetes, Gestational, Fathers, Female, Grandparents, Health, Humans, Male, Metabolic Syndrome X, Mothers, Pregnancy, Sex Characteristics, Smoking, Young Adult

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