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Ethnic differences in the relationship between birth weight and type 2 diabetes mellitus in postmenopausal women.

  • Author(s): Ryckman, KK;
  • Rillamas-Sun, E;
  • Spracklen, CN;
  • Wallace, RB;
  • Garcia, L;
  • Tylavsky, FA;
  • Howard, BV;
  • Liu, S;
  • Song, Y;
  • LeBlanc, ES;
  • White, MV;
  • Parikh, NI;
  • Robinson, JG
  • et al.

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The objective of this study is to examine the relationship between self-reported birth weight and the adult occurrence of type 2 diabetes mellitus in a large multi-ethnic population of women.


Baseline data from the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study [n=75,993] was used to examine the association between participant birth weight category and prevalent type 2 diabetes mellitus. Models were adjusted for age, ethnicity, body mass index and other pertinent risk factors. Sub-analyses were performed stratifying by ethnicity.


There was a strong inverse association between birth weight and type 2 diabetes mellitus with a birth weight of <6 pounds (lbs) (OR: 1.16, 95% CI: 1.01, 1.33) significantly associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus and a birth weight of ≥10 lbs (OR: 0.72, 95% CI: 0.57, 0.92) associated with a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus compared to women who reported their birth weight between 7 and 8 lbs 15 ounces (oz). Stratifying by ethnicity, the inverse association between birth weight and type 2 diabetes mellitus was only apparent in White women, but not Black, Hispanic or Asian women.


Lower birth weight was associated with increased T2D risk in American White and Black post-menopausal women.

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