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Posted at: Feb 11, 2015, 1:28 PM; last updated: Feb 11, 2015, 1:28 PM (IST)

Foetal exposure to tobacco smoke raises diabetes risk

Foetal exposure to tobacco smoke raises diabetes risk
WASHINGTON:  Children exposed to tobacco smoke from their parents while in the womb are more likely to develop diabetes as adults, according to a new study.

The study from the University of California, Davis and the Berkeley nonprofit Public Health Institute found that women whose mothers smoked while pregnant were two to three times as likely to be diabetic as adults.

Dads who smoked while their daughters were in utero also contributed to an increased diabetes risk for their child, but more research is needed to establish the extent of that risk, researchers said.

“Our findings are consistent with the idea that gestational environmental chemical exposures can contribute to the development of health and disease,” said lead author Michele La Merrill, an assistant professor of environmental toxicology at UC Davis.

The study analysed data from 1,800 daughters of women who had participated in the Child Health and Development Studies. The CHDS recruited women who sought obstetric care through Kaiser Permanente Foundation Health Plan in the San Francisco Bay Area between 1959 and 1967.

The data was originally collected to study early risk of breast cancer, which is why sons were not considered in this current study, researchers said.

In previous studies, foetal exposure to cigarette smoke has also been linked to higher rates of obesity and low birth weight. This study found that birth weight did not effect whether the daughters of smoking parents developed diabetes.

“We found that smoking of parents is by itself a risk factor for diabetes, independent of obesity or birth weight. If a parent smokes, you're not protected from diabetes just because you're lean," La Merrill said.

The study was published in the Journal of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease. — PTI

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