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Small at Birth, Big at Eight: Diabetes Risk

A study from Jamaica shows that children who are short at birth and heavy at eight are at increased risk for becoming diabetic when they are older. Your mother's condition during your pregnancy can determine whether you become diabatic. Children are short at full-term birth usually because their mothers didn't get enough food during pregnancy. These children may be more sensitive to food deprivation and less sensitive to insulin.

Being overweight at age eight can signify that you do not respond well to insulin, forcing you to make more insulin than usual just to keep your blood sugar from rising too high. High levels of insulin make you hungry and also cause your liver to make extra fat. These children are likely to develop diabetes later in life. More than 80 percent of diabetics who respond poorly to insulin can be controlled just by avoiding bakery products, pastas, and sugar-added foods and taking metformin. See report #D222.

Shortness at birth is associated with insulin resistance in pre-pubertal Jamaican children. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2002, Vol 56, Iss 6, pp 506-511. Bennett, C WatsonBrown, M Thame, R Wilks, C Osmond, N Hales, D Barker, T Forrester. Forrester T, Univ W Indies, Trop Metab Res Unit, Kingston 7, JAMAICA

Checked 6/9/06

May 19th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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