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In Utero Smoke Exposure Ups Subsequent Health Risks

FRIDAY, May 24 (HealthDay News) -- In utero exposure to cigarette smoking puts women at higher risk of subsequently developing gestational diabetes or obesity in adulthood, according to a study published online May 23 in Diabetologia.

Kristina Mattsson, M.D., from Lund University in Sweden, and colleagues analyzed data from 80,189 pregnancies using the Medical Birth Register of Sweden to identify women who were born in 1982 or later and who had given birth to at least one child. In utero smoking exposure was categorized as: non-smokers, one to nine cigarettes/day (moderately exposed), and more than nine cigarettes/day (heavily exposed).

The researchers note that there were 291 cases of subsequent gestational diabetes, 280 cases of non-gestational diabetes, and 7,300 cases of obesity. Among women who were moderately or heavily exposed there was an increased adjusted odds ratio (aOR) of gestational diabetes (1.62 and 1.52, respectively). For obesity, the corresponding aORs were 1.36 and 1.58. Among offspring of heavy smokers there was a reduced OR for non-gestational diabetes (0.66).

"Women exposed to smoking during fetal life were at higher risk of developing gestational diabetes and obesity," the authors write. "Although short-term detrimental effects of smoking on the individual and her offspring are well known, such associations might extend into adulthood, making the incentive stronger for undertaking preventable measures, particularly as numbers in some countries point to an increase in daily smoking among young women."

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