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Gestational Diabetes, Low Income May Increase Child’s Risk of ADHD

German scientists report that gestational diabetes and/or low income may increase a child’s risk of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). However, the study indicates, breastfed children born under those conditions may gain some protection against ADHD.

The study, conducted by Jochen Schmitt, MD, at the Technical University Dresden, and Marcel Romanos, MD, at the University Hospital of Würzburg, was published in the Archives of Pediatric Adolescent Medicine. It built upon previous small-sample studies indicating that the combination of gestational diabetes and low economic status increases the risk for ADHD.

The study looked at 11,222 mothers and children, seeking any associations between factors during and after pregnancy and the later development of ADHD. In addition to diabetes and low income, those factors included drinking and/or smoking during pregnancy, late-stage and post-delivery complications, and frequency and duration of breastfeeding. Economic status was determined by a combination of parents’ level of education, professional status, and household income.  

With 95 percent certainty in their findings, Schmitt and Romanos conclude that children of mothers who experienced gestational diabetes were 2.04 times as likely to develop ADHD. The children of low-income mothers were 1.91 times as likely to develop the condition.

A summary of the study is available online.



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