Large population-based studies in the United States that have controlled for maternal age and ethnicity have found a substantial increase in the overall incidence of GDM over the past decade, particularly in populations in rapid transition. The increase in GDM has paralleled the increase in obesity within the population in the reproductive age. The increase in overweight and obesity among adolescents and young adults is of major concern. Further investigation is required to establish if this weight increase is either causal for or a concomitant of GDM.
While GDM is probably increasing globally, well designed, population-based studies to confirm this assumption are not presently available outside of the USA. Data from a report drawn from the data of the Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program in California 1 illustrate the points mentioned above very well. In this study, it was possible to compare trends in yearly incidence of GDM among Caucasian, African American, Hispanic and Asian populations, as shown in the Figure below.
Adapted from Ferrara et al, 2004 1
1.Ferrara,A. Kahn,H.S. Quesenberry,C.P. Riley,C. Hedderson,M.M. An increase in the incidence of gestational diabetes mellitus: Northern California. Obstet Gynecol.2004; 103(3): 526-533