HealthDay News — Gestational diabetes and low socioeconomic status may predict a child’s risk for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), results of a population-based study indicate.

Both maternal gestational diabetes and low socioeconomic position were significantly associated with ADHD (adjusted odds ratio 2.04, 95% CI: 1.56-2.68 and aOR 1.91, 95% CI: 1.21-3.01, respectively), Jochen Schmitt, MD, MPH, from the Technical University Dresden and Marcel Romanos, MD, of the University Hospital of Würzburg in Germany reported in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

However, breastfeeding may offer some protection against ADHD (aOR 0.83, 95% CI: 0.69-0.996), regardless of duration, the researchers observed.

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These findings confirm results of an earlier study that showed a strong association between ADHD, gestational diabetes and socioeconomic status, but in a relatively small sample population (Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2012; 166: 337-343).

In order to replicate the previous studies results in a larger population-based sample, Schmitt and Romanos analyzed data from the national German Health Interview and Examination Survey for Children and Adolescents, which included information from 11,222 children aged 0 to 17 years and their mothers.

Socioeconomic status was determined based on parental education, professional status and household income, and ADHD diagnoses were based on criteria in the International Statistical Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision.

Mean participant age was 9.9 years and half were female. The prevalence of ADHD, gestational diabetes and low socioeconomic status was 4.9%, 2.3%, and 25.5%, respectively.

In addition to independent associations between poverty and gestational diabetes and ADHD, those with both had even higher risk for ADHD (observed OR=3.68), the researchers found. A multivariable analysis revealed that perinatal health problems (aOR 1.69, 95% CI: 1.40-2.03), maternal smoking during pregnancy (aOR 1.48, 95% CI: 1.19-1.84) and atopic eczema (aOR 1.62, 95% CI: 1.30-2.02) were also independent risk factors for ADHD.

Evidence-based prevention programs may help reduce environmental risk factors that contribute to ADHD, the researchers suggested.


  1. Schmitt J, Romanos M. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2012; doi:10.1001/archpediatrics.2012.1078.