Gestational diabetes may accelerate child's biological age,
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Children born to mothers who had diabetes during pregnancy may age faster biologically and be at an increased risk for obesity and high blood pressure, according to Rutgers researchers.

The study, published in the journal Epigenetics, explored how more than 1,000 children born to mothers in China aged on a cellular level. Researchers examined their exposure to gestational diabetes in utero and their DNA methylation, or epigenetic age, which indicates how experiences and exposures reflect true biological age even in early childhood.

The researchers measured the epigenetic age of 1,156 children who were ages 3 to 10 in Tianjin, China, to see how it differed from their chronological age. They found that children born to mothers who had diabetes while pregnant had a higher epigenetic age—or were "older" than their actual age—and that this epigenetic age is associated with higher weight, body mass index, body fat percentage, upper-arm circumference and blood pressure.

"These findings suggest that gestational diabetes may have long-term effects on epigenetic aging in offspring and lead to poorer cardiometabolic health outcomes," said lead author.

The findings support the need for further studies using longitudinal samples to evaluate the association between epigenetic age and later onset of adult metabolic diseases.

Source: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/15592294.2020.1790924
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