Overview: This cohort was started prospectively in 1997-8 to assess the prevalence of gestational diabetes (GDM) and its impact on the children. The 550 urban and rural children are now aged 15-16 years.

Objective: To study associations of GDM, maternal nutrition, newborn size and childhood growth, diet, physical activity and pubertal development with cardiometabolic and cognitive outcomes.

Methods: Maternal glucose tolerance and plasma micronutrients (vitamins B12, folate and D) were measured during pregnancy. The children were measured (anthropometry and/or bio-impedance) at birth and every 6-12 months, and assessed for sexual maturity 6-monthly from age 9 years. They and their parents were studied in depth when the children were 5, 9.5 and 13.5 years assessing diet, physical activity, cardiometabolic risk factors and cognitive function. At 13.5 years salivary cortisol and cardiovascular autonomic responses to stress were measured. In the next quinquennium, pubertal assessments will be completed and longitudinal 3-way (lean/fat/skeleton) conditional growth variables will be examined as predictors of cardiometabolic and cognitive outcomes.

Research output and key findings in the last quinquennium: 24 published papers, including several comparative or meta-analysis studies with international collaborators.

  • Maternal vitamin B12 deficiency was associated with an increased risk of GDM59
  • GDM was associated with increasing adiposity, hyperglycaemia and hyperinsulinaemia in the children as they grew older, and increased cardiovascular autonomic stress-responsiveness in adolescence195
  • Larger head circumference at birth and higher maternal folate status, but not breastfeeding duration, were associated with better cognitive function in the children246-249