Children of mothers who smoke are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes and obesity later in life, according to a new study by researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden. The new study is the first to link prenatal exposure to cigarette smoke and an increased risk of diabetes (BMJ. 2002;324:26-27).
The researchers used data from the British National Child Mortality Survey of about 17 000 children born in 1958. They found that participants whose mothers had smoked 10 or more cigarettes per week during pregnancy were at least four times as likely to develop early type 2 diabetes as those whose mothers were nonsmokers. Individuals who had smoked as teenagers also had an independent, similarly increased risk of subsequently developing diabetes. In addition, offspring of smoking mothers who had not developed diabetes were significantly more likely to be obese or overweight.
Stephenson J. Maternal Smoking–Diabetes Link Is Described. JAMA. 2002;287(6):706. doi:10.1001/jama.287.6.706-JWM20002-4-1