Indian women have highest GDM in South Asia

Chennai: Indian women have the highest frequency of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM) in South Asia, making the foetus vulnerable to diabetes, two city-based doctors said here today.

The doctors were addressing a press meet at the launch of Prevention of Diabetes in the Mother and Child Project by Dr Seshiah Diabetes Research and Dr Balaji Diabetes Care Centre in association with global healthcare brand Novo Nordisk.

Dr V Seshiah and Dr V Balaji said 16.55 per cent of Indian women suffer from GDM, making the child vulnerable to Type 2 diabetes and said their project being funded by Novo Nordisk would conduct research over 15 years, focussing on a variety of factors, including cause, diagnosis and awareness.

"A lack of control of sugar intake affects the foetus, resulting in the birth of an overweight child who is vulnerable to diabetes. Therefore, prevention is very important," Dr Seshiah said.

Dr Balaji said the study would "reveal answers for many questions" on diabetes and the research would study specific communities and target groups in urban, semi-urban and rural areas.

"This community-based study will be extrapolated and we will be releasing interim reports," he added.

This was a "first-of-its-kind" initiative in India, Dr Seshiah said.

Both doctors said that most Indian women gain weight during pregnancy due to consumption of an unhealthy diet and lack of physical activity, unaware of the impact of GDM on her developing Type 2 diabetes as well as the impact on her child.