Children Born to Obese Moms May Face Higher Autism Risk: Study

Maternal obesity, overweight also linked to other developmental delays

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"It may not be the obesity itself, but other things that lead to obesity, such as genetics, or lifestyle, or diet," Krakowiak said.

About 24 percent of moms who had a child with a developmental delay were obese; 21.5 percent of moms who had a child with autism were obese; and 14 percent of moms with a typically developing child were obese.

Researchers noted that overweight mothers whose weight approached obese -- a BMI of 28 or 29 -- had risk levels similar to obese moms.

Mothers with a child with autism or a developmental delay were also more likely to have hypertension during pregnancy, but the association wasn't considered statistically significant. Researchers noted the number of women with high blood pressure in the study was small.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has more on autism.

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