Study links maternal obesity to autism

Cpregnancyhangsha, Hunan, China — A study by a group of researchers from the Central South University in Hunan, China suggests that maternal obesity might have something to do with autism in children.

In a research using a ‘meta-analysis’ of previous studies linking maternal obesity to autism, the scientists found that as much as 47 percent of overweight mothers are likely to give birth to children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). According to the researchers:

“Our findings suggest that maternal obesity is associated with autism spectrum disorder. This meta-analysis reveals that maternal obesity might increase autism risk in children. Further studies are recommended to confirm the result.”

Similar studies previously conducted by researchers have theorized that high sugar levels in obese mothers may have a huge impact on fetal development. Scientists believe that increased levels of sugar can have a detrimental impact on fetal brain development.

Researchers have also previously suggested that high sugar levels in mothers may result to iron deficiency in children— and that this deficiency can, in turn, severely affect the fetal brain development during the first trimester of the mother’s pregnancy.

The study by the Central South University researchers is the first-ever meta-analysis to be conducted on maternal obesity and autism. The research combined findings from multiple studies previously conducted on the subject, including data from different parts of the world that involved a total of about 200,000 people.

According to Research Autism Research Director Richard Mills:

“It is an interesting study. More work is needed, and it is likely that a number of factors will be involved. We are also increasingly seeing evidence that there are several types of autism… which would suggest that there are likely to be different causes.”

Source: Roger Dobson: The Daily Mail: Could autism be linked to obesity in pregnancy? Overweight women’s high blood sugar levels may have a detrimental impact on the development of the brain