HealthDay News — Among women with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), a joint effect of maternal obesity and excessive weight gain appears to be associated with an increased risk for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in offspring, according to a study published online in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Verónica Perea, MD, PhD, from Hospital Universitari Mútua de Terrassa in Spain, and colleagues examined the joint effect of maternal weight and excessive weight gain during pregnancy on the risk for ADHD in offspring of GDM pregnancies in a cohort of singleton births >22 weeks of gestation. Data were included for 1036 children, with a median follow-up of 17.7 years.

The researchers found that 13% of the children were diagnosed with ADHD. The rates of ADHD according to pregestational maternal weight were 7.1%, 11.4%, 14.2%, and 16.4% for underweight, normal weight, overweight, and obesity, respectively. Maternal obesity was independently associated with ADHD, but maternal overweight and EWG were not. On examination of the joint contribution of maternal weight and excessive weight gain, the risk for ADHD was highest for maternal obesity with excessive weight gain compared with normal weight without excessive weight gain. Pregestational obesity without EWG was no longer associated with ADHD.

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“The results of this study suggest that the negative repercussions of excessive weight gain on children within the setting of a high-risk population (GDM with obesity) were not only observed during the prenatal period but also years later with a development of ADHD,” the authors write.

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