A low birth weight and an unhealthy lifestyle increase risk of type 2 diabetes more than either factor alone, according to Dr. Yanping Li of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, and associates.
In a study of 11, 709 cases of type 2 diabetes, the odds ratio for type 2 diabetes as a result of low birth weight alone was 1.45 per kg under normal birth weight, and for unhealthy lifestyle alone, the OR was 2.1. When both factors were present, the OR increased significantly to 2.86.
If both factors were present, unhealthy lifestyle had significantly more impact on diabetes development, with 59% of the attributable proportion of joint effect, compared with just 22% for low birth weight and 18% for the interaction between the two.
“The finding suggests that most cases of type 2 diabetes could be prevented by the adoption of a healthier lifestyle, but simultaneous improvement of both prenatal and postnatal factors could further prevent additional cases,” the investigators concluded.
Find the full study in the BMJ ( doi:10.1136/bmj.h3672 ).