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Diabet Med. 2000 Nov;17(11):792-7.

Women with a history of gestational diabetes of European and South Asian origin are shorter than women with normal glucose tolerance in pregnancy.

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Section of Endocrinology and Metabolic Medicine, Imperial College School of Medicine, St Mary's Hospital, London, UK.



It has been reported that short individuals are more likely to have abnormalities of glucose homeostasis. The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between adult height and gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), taking into account possible artefactual or confounding explanations.


Three hundred and forty-six women with previous GDM (169 European, 102 South Asian, 75 Afro-Caribbean) and 470 control women with no previous history of GDM (282 European, 94 South Asian and 94 Afro-Caribbean) were studied. Post-partum glucose status and height were measured.


European and South Asian women with previous GDM were shorter than control women from the same ethnic groups (European: (mean +/- SD) 162.9 +/- 6.1 vs. 165.3 +/- 6.8 cm, P < 0.0001; South Asian: 155.2 +/- 5.4 vs. 158.2 +/- 6.3 cm, P = 0.003, adjusted for age). A similar, but non-significant trend was observed among Afro-Caribbean women (162.2 +/- 6.2 vs. 163.7 +/- 6.1 cm, P = 0.1). Similar, significant height differences were observed in Europeans and South Asians when analysis was restricted to those GDM women who had received insulin during pregnancy. There was no association between height and glucose tolerance postpartum within the GDM group.


European and South Asian women with previous GDM are shorter than control women from the same ethnic groups. The data demonstrate that this is unlikely to be an artefact resulting from the use of an fixed 75 g load in women of differing sizes, and suggest that there are likely to be common pathophysiological mechanisms underlying GDM and the determination of final adult height.

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[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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