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Kids of Pregnant Smokers Risk Early Adult Diabetes
by Daniel DeNoon

Jan. 4, 2002 -- Still smoking? Pregnant? Here's a new reason to quit: your child risks early adult diabetes.

The findings come from a study of some 17,000 British children born in early 1958. Researchers checked on the kids at ages 7 and 16 and again at 33.

Some of these young adults already had diabetes. Scott M. Montgomery and Anders Ekbom of Sweden's Karolinska Institute found that risk of diabetes was linked to how much a person's mother smoked during the last five months of pregnancy. They reported the findings in the Jan. 5 issue of The Lancet.

The more a mother smoked, the higher the risk.

Adult children of heavy-smoking mothers -- more than 10 cigarettes a day -- had 4.5 times more diabetes than those whose moms didn't smoke. Those whose mothers smoked a lot on some days and less on other days ran nearly as high a risk.

"Smoking during pregnancy should always be strongly discouraged," Montgomery and Ekbom conclude.

Still, not all of the diabetes risk could be blamed on moms. Regardless of whether their mother smoked, risk of early diabetes was higher in people who themselves smoked cigarettes

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