Overweight/obesity and other predictors of gestational diabetes among Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal women in Western Australia

Marwan Awad Ahmed, Helen D. Bailey, Gavin Pereira, Scott W. White, Matthew J.L. Hare, Kingsley Wong, Rhonda Marriott, Carrington C.J. Shepherd

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This population-based study investigated the association of BMI and other predictors with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) among Australian Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal mothers. We conducted a state-wide retrospective cohort study that included all singleton births in Western Australia (n = 134,552) between 2012 and 2015 using population health datasets linked by the Western Australian Data Linkage Branch. Associations between GDM and its predictors were estimated as adjusted relative risks (aRRs) from multivariable generalised linear models. Adjusted ratio of relative risks (aRRRs) compared RRs in Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal mothers. Adjusted population attributable fractions estimated the contribution of overweight/obesity to GDM burden, and adjusted predicted probabilities for GDM were plotted against BMI levels. The following predictors had stronger associations with GDM in Aboriginal, compared to non-Aboriginal, mothers: maternal obesity (aRR [95% CI] 3.16 [2.54–3.93]; aRRR 1.57 [1.26–1.94]), previous LGA (aRR 1.70 [1.37–2.12]; aRRR 1.41 [1.13–1.76]) and previous macrosomia (birthweight ≥ 4 kg) (aRR 1.55 [1.24–1.94]; aRRR 1.53 [1.22–1.91]). 46.1% (95% CI: 36.6–54.1) of GDM cases in Aboriginal women (23.3% in non-Aboriginal mothers, 95% CI: 21.6–25.1) were attributed to overweight/obesity. Compared to non-Aboriginal mothers, adjusted GDM probabilities were higher at all BMI levels and showed greater increase with BMI. Overweight/obesity is a key driver of GDM among Aboriginal women. Association between BMI and GDM is stronger in Aboriginal, compared to non-Aboriginal, women especially at higher BMI.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102444
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalPreventive Medicine Reports
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


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