Grand Multiparity Associated With Diabetes

But this relationship in older women may be attenuated by sociodemographic factors
By Monica Smith
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Aug. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Grand multiparity (giving birth to five or more children)is associated with diabetes in elderly women, but the relationship may be mediated by sociodemographic factors, according to research published in the August issue of Diabetes Care.

Angela G. Fowler-Brown, M.D., of Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues analyzed parity, fasting serum levels of glucose and insulin, and medication use data in 3,211 women age 65 or older to study the relationship between parity, diabetes and markers of glucose homeostasis in that population.

The researchers found a higher prevalence of diabetes in women who had given birth five times or more (25 percent) than in women with fewer births (12 percent) or no births (15 percent). With regression models that controlled for age and race, grand multiparity was linked to a higher rate of diabetes (prevalence ratio, 1.57). The association between grand multiparity and diabetes prevalence was attenuated, however, when demographic and clinical factors were included, and lost significance when body anthropometrics were included in the model. In those who did not have diabetes at baseline, a modest association of parity with fasting insulin and insulin resistance was found.

"Grand multiparity is associated with diabetes in elderly women in cross-sectional analyses. This relationship seems to be confounded and/or mediated by variation in body weight and sociodemographic factors by parity status. In older nondiabetic women, higher parity does not pose an ongoing risk of developing diabetes," the authors write.

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