By Holly Lebowitz Rossi

A study published by researchers at the University of California Davis has found that women who are obese and have diabetes during pregnancy are 67 percent more likely to have children with developmental delays, which may include an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In a release, researchers said the findings are a serious public health call to action:

"Over a third of U.S. women in their childbearing years are obese, and nearly one-tenth have gestational or type 2 diabetes during pregnancy. Our finding that these maternal conditions may be linked with neurodevelopmental problems in children raises concerns and therefore may have serious public health implications," said Paula Krakowiak, a PhD Candidate in Epidemiology affiliated with the [UC Davis] MIND Institute. "And while the study does not conclude that diabetes and obesity cause ASD and developmental delays, it suggests that fetal exposure to elevated glucose and maternal inflammation levels adversely affect fetal development."

Image: Bathroom scale, via Shutterstock.

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