Gestational Diabetes, Poverty Link to ADHD Strengthened

Study confirms previous associations; suggests protective effect of breastfeeding

TUESDAY, Sept. 11 (HealthDay News) -- The previously reported association between attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) and low socioeconomic position (SEP) has been confirmed in a large German cohort, according to a research letter published online Sept. 10 in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Jochen Schmitt, M.D., M.P.H., from the Technical University Dresden, and Marcel Romanos, M.D., from the University Hospital of Würzburg -- both in Germany, aimed to replicate previous findings using data from the national German Health Interview and Examination Survey for Children and Adolescents, completed by parents of 13,488 participants aged 3 to 17 years.

The researchers found that the mean age of participants was 9.9 years and 50.1 percent were female. The prevalence of ADHD, GDM, and low SEP was 4.9, 2.3, and 25.5 percent, respectively. ADHD was significantly associated with both maternal GDM (odds ratio [OR], 1.91) and low SEP (OR, 2.04). Additionally, perinatal health problems, maternal smoking during pregnancy, and atopic eczema were identified as independent risk factors for ADHD. Full breastfeeding was found to be protective, regardless of the duration. GDM and low SEP had an additive effect (observed and expected OR for middle-class children exposed to GDM, 3.47 and 2.93, respectively; observed and expected OR for lower-class children exposed to GDM, 3.68 and 3.56, respectively).

"Our study confirms the previously reported association between low SEP, maternal GDM, and ADHD and their additive interaction as risk factors for ADHD in a large population-based sample," the authors write.

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