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Diet Impacts Type 2 Diabetes Risk in Gestational Diabetes

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2012-09-17 19:01

Women who develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy have a significant risk of getting type 2 diabetes either soon after giving birth or within the next ten or more years. Results of a new study appearing in the Archives of Internal Medicine reveal that women can greatly reduce that risk by eating a healthy diet, and some diet options are better than others.

Your diet can protect against type 2 diabetes

As many as 18 percent of pregnant women in the United States are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, a condition in which diabetes develops for the first time during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes can lead to various complications, including having a large baby (with associated risks during labor and delivery), and giving birth to an infant with very low blood glucose levels and/or breathing problems.

Despite the high risk of type 2 diabetes among women with a history of gestational diabetes, few studies have examined modifiable risk factors, which could help these women prevent the disease. Therefore a research team examined data from 4,413 women who participated in the Nurses' Health Study II and who had a history of gestational diabetes.

All the women were followed from 1991 through 2005 using a food frequency questionnaire, which was completed every four years. Three dietary patterns were evaluated using a point system: the alternate Mediterranean diet (aMED), Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH), and alternate Healthy Eating Index (aHEI).

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