Excessive Weight gain during pregnancy increases autism risk in children: Study
USA: Increased weight gain (more than recommended levels) during pregnancy elevates autism risk in offspring, a recent study in the journal Obesity has found.
Ka He, Columbia University Irving Medical Center, New York, New York, USA, and colleagues aimed to quantitatively examine the association between gestational weight gain (GWG) and risk of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in offspring.
The researchers searched the online databases for studies of excessive or inadequate GWG as compared to the recommended GWG in relation to ASD risk in offfspring. Measures of the association from primary studies were pooled using a meta‐analytic approach and expressed as weighted odds ratios (ORs) with 95% CIs.
In total, nine studies were identified including 323,253 participants with 4,135 cases of ASD from five cohort studies and 1,462 cases and 3,265 controls from four case‐control studies.
Key findings of the study include:
- Evidence from cohort studies indicates that both excessive and inadequate GWG was significantly associated with a higher risk for ASD in offspring.
- The pooled OR of ASD was 1.10 for excessive GWG and 1.13 for inadequate GWG using recommended GWG as the reference.
- Evidence from case‐control studies suggests that excessive GWG (1.38) but not inadequate GWG (0.87) was significantly associated with a higher risk for ASD.
""Because autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is estimated to affect approximately 1% of people globally, identifying modifiable risk factors for ASD is of great public health significance," wrote the authors.
"Our findings from the meta-analysis have supported that gaining weight outside the recommended GWG is associated with a higher risk for ASD in offspring," they concluded.
"Although the underlying mechanisms by which gestational weight gain affects neurodevelopment of offspring are still unclear, it has been suggested that excessive gestational weight gain may induce disturbed blood leptin signaling in offspring, which may consequently lead to adverse neurobiological conditions," the researchers wrote. "[Inadequate gestational weight gain] may be considered as a marker of suboptimal nutritional status of the fetus, and nutrient deficiencies have been linked to poor neurodevelopment and ASD risk in children."
The study, "Association Between Gestational Weight Gain and Autism Spectrum Disorder in Offspring: A Meta‐Analysis," is published in the journal Obesity.