Low birth weight and adult overweight increase the risk of LADA and type 2-diabetes in adults

Low birth weight and overweight in adulthood increase the risk of developing LADA and type 2-diabetes, a new study from Karolinska Institutet has found. The study was conducted using Mendelian Randomization to study the connection between birth weight, adult overweight and the risk of LADA

Photo of woman on a scale.
Woman on scale. Photo: iStock

It is previously known that low birth weight and overweight later in life increase the risk of type 2-diabetes. This study has, by using data from ESTRID, shown that people with low birth weight or overweight also have an increased risk of developing LADA. To investigate whether the results are causal, we conducted a new study using mendelian randomization where you use genetic information to adjust for confounders. This means that we investigated the risk of developing diabetes by comparing individuals with and without the genetic variants associated with low birth weight and overweight. Since our genes aren’t influenced by environmental factors or confounders it means that the methods can be used to study the connection between birth weight, overweight and the risk of diabetes without the influence of lifestyle habits which also could affect the risk of diabetes. 

The results showed that people who carried the gene connected to low birth weight or overweight in adulthood had an increased risk of developing LADA and type 2-diabetes. The results are in line with what was seen in the ESTRID-study which implies that the results are causal. This means that by preventing low birth weight and overweight in adults we could reduce the incidence of both LADA and type 2-diabetes.