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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

BU Study Finds Low Birth Weight Linked to Diabetes in African American Women

African American women born at a low or very low birth weight may be at a higher risk for developing type two diabetes, according to a new study by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researchers.

The researchers, from the Slone Epidemiology Center at BU, followed more than 21,000 women enrolled in the Black Women’s Health Study over the course of 16 years, analyzing characteristics such as birth weight, current age, family history of diabetes, body mass index, physical activity, and socioeconomic status.

The study results indicate that women with low birth weight had a 13 percent higher chance of developing type two diabetes than those with normal birth weight, and those with very low birth weight had a 40 percent higher chance of developing the disease.

“African American women are at increased risk of developing type two diabetes, and also have higher rates of low birth weight than White women,” said Dr. Edward Ruiz-Narváez, assistant professor of epidemiology at BUSPH. “Our study shows a clear relationship between birth weight and diabetes that highlights the importance of further research for this at-risk group.”

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