It’s a very sensitive topic to be sure, but a new obesity study is making headlines in the news linking obesity and autism. Researchers in China analyzed previous studies linking maternal obesity and autism and found mothers suffering from obesity with high blood sugar levels were 47 percent more likely to have children with autism.
This isn’t the first time this connection has been made.
A study by the University of California found that mothers who suffered from obesity prior to and during pregnancy were 67 percent more likely to have a child with autism compared to women of a normal weight. Women who had diabetes during pregnancy were 67 percent more likely to have a child with autism compared to women without diabetes.
Although the reason is still unclear, researchers believe that high blood sugar levels in pregnant women could lead to higher levels in the child, which may impact the development of the brain and central nervous system.
When you consider the current state of health in America, this is a cause for concern. Over 60 percent of U.S. women of childbearing age are overweight and 34 percent are obese. Over 11 million women in America have diabetes and it’s estimated that 73 million Americans have pre-diabetes. If what the research suggests is true, millions of American families could potentially be impacted.
Although we don’t yet know for certain what causes autism, it is evident that as a country we need to improve our health. If our weight or blood sugar levels have any bearing on developing this disorder, we need to do everything we can to improve them.
Weight loss starts with a proper diet. Eating appropriate food portions and incorporating healthier foods into our meals is key. Once we have improved the foods we eat, then we can start thinking about more physical activity. Exercise will help burn more calories and contribute to more weight loss. The weight loss you achieve will have health benefits across the board.
If you suffer from diabetes, getting rid of simple carbs and sugary foods is a good first step in your new diet. Another set of tools that will help manage your blood sugar levels is the glycemic index and the glycemic load. These resources give you an idea of how the foods you’re eating impact your blood sugar and can help you in choosing healthier food options.
If you are planning on starting or growing your family, of course the most important step in creating an effective weight loss plan is to speak with your doctor or primary medical provider. Because he or she understands your full physical make-up and medical history, a more personalized program can be developed.
The link between obesity and autism is still a mystery that will take years of research to fully understand. Based on the clinical information we have today, it’s clear that Americans need to heed the warnings and take the appropriate steps to ensure a healthy bundle of joy.