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Do Gestational Obesity and Gestational Diabetes Have an Independent Effect on Neonatal Adiposity? Results of Mediation Analysis from a Cohort Study in South India



Neonates born to mothers with obesity or gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) have an increased chance of various metabolic disorders later in life. In India, it is unclear whether maternal obesity or GDM is related to offspring adiposity. We aimed to understand the independent effect of maternal obesity and GDM with neonatal adiposity and whether GDM has a mediating effect between maternal obesity and neonatal adiposity.


We recruited a cohort of 1120 women (between April 2016 and February 2019) from the public hospitals in Bangalore, India, who voluntarily agreed to participate and provided written informed consent. The primary outcome was neonatal adiposity, defined as the sum of skinfold thickness >85th percentile. Exposure included maternal obesity, defined as >90th percentile of skinfold thickness. GDM, the potential mediator, was classified using the World Health Organization criteria by oral glucose tolerance test. Binary logistic regression was applied to test the effect of maternal obesity and GDM on neonatal adiposity, adjusting for potential confounders. We used Paramed command in STATA version 14 for analyzing mediating effects.


We found that maternal obesity (odds ratio (OR)=2.16, 95% CI 1.46, 3.18) and GDM (OR=2.21, 95% CI1.38, 3.52) have an independent effect on neonatal adiposity. GDM significantly mediates 25.2% of the total effect between maternal obesity and neonatal adiposity, (natural direct effect OR = 1.16 95% CI 1.04, 1.30) with significant direct effect of maternal obesity (natural direct effect OR = 1.90 95% CI 1.16, 3.10) and significant total effect (OR=2.20 95% CI 1.35, 3.58).


We showed that maternal obesity and GDM are independently associated with offspring adiposity. Also, GDM mediates the association of maternal obesity on adiposity in children. Interventions focused on obesity prevention in women, and effective screening and management of GDM may contribute to reducing childhood obesity in India.

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