BMI Thresholds for Gestational Diabetes Differ by Race

Asian and Filipina women have relatively high prevalence even at normal body mass index

THURSDAY, May 31 (HealthDay News) -- There is considerable racial/ethnic variation in the prevalence of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) by body mass index (BMI), according to a study published online May 22 in Diabetes Care.

Monique Hedderson, Ph.D., from Kaiser Permanente Northern California in Oakland, and colleagues analyzed data from 123,040 women without diabetes prior to their pregnancy, who delivered babies between 1995 and 2006. The racial/ethnic disparities in the prevalence of GDM by BMI were assessed.

The researchers found that the age-adjusted prevalence of GDM increased with increasing BMI in all racial/ethnic groups. The prevalence of GDM differed by race; at a BMI of 22.0 to 24.9 kg/m², the prevalence was 9.9 percent for Asian women and 8.5 percent for Filipina women, whereas for Hispanic, non-Hispanic white, and African-American women, the prevalence of GDM was >8.0 percent at a BMI of 28 to 30, 34 to 36, and ≥37 kg/m², respectively. If all pregnant women were of normal weight (BMI <25.0 kg/m²), the percentage of GDM that could be prevented ranged from 65 percent for African-American women to 23 percent for Asian women.

"Clinicians should be aware that the BMI thresholds for increased risk of GDM varies by racial/ethnic group and that the risk is high even at relatively low BMI cutoffs in Asian and Filipina women," the authors write.

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