A team from Northwestern University made the discovery. "Children born to mothers with a waist of 80 centimetres (31.5 inches) or more before pregnancy showed a 65% increase in the risk of autism than those born to a mother with a smaller waist," Dr Geum Joon Cho is quoted as saying by the Mirror.
There are many different factors that cause autism. "Of the environmental risk factors, emerging evidence has linked maternal pre-pregnancy obesity to the risk of autism in offspring,"Cho explained.
For the study, researchers reviewed data for 36,451 mothers and used waist circumference as a measure.
"As obesity increases, circulating immune system proteins called inflammatory cytokines in pregnant women and the inflammation associated with maternal obesity may be related to the development of autism," said Choo. Adding, "Waist circumference, as a measure of central obesity, is associated with an increase in inflammatory cytokines, which is known to be involved in the development of autism."
They found 265 (0.76%) were diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Maternal obesity increased autism by 65%.
The team hopes their findings encourage doctors to monitor maternal obesity....