Low Birth Weight Ups Type 2 Diabetes Risk

NEW YORK: Children born with low birth weight due to genetic factors are at increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, finds a new study.

The findings showed that the low birth weight was actually causing excess risk in Type 2 diabetes.

“A genetically lowered birth weight was associated with increased susceptibility to Type 2 diabetes,” said Tiange Wang from Tulane University in the US.

Low birth can cause restricted intrauterine growth (foetal growth) — a condition in which an unborn baby is smaller than it should be because it is not growing at a normal rate inside the womb.

Further, this restricted foetal growth also represents a risk factor for the low birth weight and in turn causing the Type 2 diabetes.

Risk factors for restricted intrauterine growth include malnutrition, anaemia, infections and placental insufficiency.

“Our findings support a potential causal relation between birth weight and risk of Type 2 diabetes, providing novel evidence to support the role of intrauterine exposures in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes,” Wang added.

Evidence from both population and experimental studies has suggested that restricted early life development has long-term structural and functional influence on individuals’ predisposition to an increased risk of metabolic diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, said the paper published in the journal Diabetologia.

The study included 3627 Type 2 diabetes cases and 12,974 controls.

The team created a genetic risk score (GRS) based on five low birth weight-related genetic variations known as single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs).

The analysis showed that for each one point increase in GRS (with the score ranging from 1-10), the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes increased by six per cent.