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Associations Between Maternal Pregravid Obesity and Gestational Diabetes and the Timing of Pubarche in Daughters


We investigated whether in utero exposure to maternal pregravid obesity and/or gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) was associated with early puberty in girls. We used data from a longitudinal study of 421 mother-daughter pairs enrolled in an integrated health services organization, Kaiser Permanente Northern California (2005-2012). Girls aged 6-8 years were followed annually through ages 12-14 years. Onset of puberty was assessed using study clinic-based Tanner staging. We examined associations of self-reported pregravid obesity and maternal GDM with timing of the daughter's transition to pubertal maturation stage 2 or above for development of breasts and pubic hair, using accelerated failure time regression models with interval censoring to estimate time ratios and hazard ratios and corresponding 95% confidence intervals. Maternal obesity (pregravid body mass index (BMI; weight (kg)/height (m)(2)) ≥30) was associated with a daughter's earlier transition to breast and pubic hair stage 2+ in comparison with girls whose mothers had pregravid BMI <25. These associations were attenuated and not statistically significant after adjustment for covariates. Girls whose mothers had both pregravid BMI ≥25 and GDM were at higher risk of an earlier transition to pubic hair stage 2+ than those whose mothers had neither condition (adjusted time ratio = 0.89, 95% confidence interval: 0.83, 0.96; hazard ratio = 2.97, 95% confidence interval: 1.52, 5.83). These findings suggest that exposure to maternal obesity and hyperglycemia places girls at higher risk of earlier pubarche.

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