A new study shows that infants born under 5.5 pounds because of poor prenatal nutrition have a high risk for developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
Researchers say a pregnant mother's inadequate nutrition isn't the only cause of prenatal malnourishment. Abnormal development of the placenta and its blood vessels and high blood pressure, which damages vessels can also lead to malnourishment in some cases problems can also result from intrauterine growth restriction.
A series of experiments were conducted by researchers beginning with pregnant mice. The mice were separated into two groups of mothers and were studied for the three weeks of pregnancy. For two weeks, both groups were fully nourished. On the third week, one group of mothers was restricted to only half the amount as the other group. Babies who were undernourished weighed 23-percent less than the control group. Researchers say they found no notable difference in between the two groups ,hence they fed both groups the same diet, limiting other risk factors of diabetes.
Blood glucose tests done after meals showed no difference until the mice were 4 months old an age equivalent to human adolescence when mice babies born underweight began showing a higher level of blood glucose . By 6 months of age, the mice had extremely high levels of blood glucose, similar to full-blown diabetes in humans and were not programmed to secrete a limited amount of insulin later in life, no matter what signal they got from glucose. The impairment was permanent and it couldn't be corrected even when the body caught up to normal weight say researchers .
Thus researchers say their findings indicate the importance of prenatal care as well as the importance of preventative maintenance with those born underweight.