A study examining 48,000 people in Scotland over a 14 year period showed those born with a birth weight below 2.893 kg (6.38 lbs) developed type 2 earlier and at a lower BMI than those with a birth weight above 3.572 kg (7.87 lbs).
The results show a potential association between low birth weight and a more severe phenotype of type 2 diabetes, where less insulin is produced.
“It has long been established that being born with low birth weight is associated with increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease in later life. This probably reflects a combination of genetics and intrauterine environment,” the study’s author Christian Paulina said.
Those with a birth weight under 2.893 kg were diagnosed with diabetes at the average age of 50, whereas the average age of diagnosis for those with birth weight above 3.572 kg was 51.3. The researchers noted that for every 1 kg in extra birth weight, diagnosis age was pushed out by .8 years.
More research is needed for clinical applications, but researchers hope to improve birth weight by reducing maternal smoking or improving maternal nutrition. Read the full study here.
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