This finding was published in the journal Pediatrics and carried out at Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health. It highlights the critical importance of becoming as healthy as possible before conception.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, currently one in 68 children in the USA have autism. Rates have skyrocketed since the 1960s. Autism spectrum disorder is a neurodevelopmental condition marked by severe deficits in socialization. Children suffer with issues in verbal and nonverbal communication, and engage in repetitive behaviors.

In this study researchers analyzed 2,734 mother-child pairs. They looked at figures on maternal pre-pregnancy weight and whether the women had diabetes before getting pregnant or developed gestational diabetes while they were pregnant. The children were followed from birth through childhood. At the conclusion of the study 102 children were diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.

Children with mothers who were both diabetic and obese were more than four times at greater risk for developing autism than children born to normal weight mothers without diabetes.

This is a huge concern.

Type 2 diabetes is now at epidemic levels. More women are developing type 2 diabetes and having children at a later age, when the prevalence of diabetes rises.

This study clearly shows that diabetes is not just a risk to the individual; it can have disastrous effects on future generations. The researchers of the study believe the increased autism risk is caused by heightened levels of inflammation caused by both obesity and type 2 diabetes. The inflammation can harm the developing fetus’ brain in a way that creates autism. Women with type 2 diabetes are also often deficient in several key nutrients including B vitamins, which are necessary for proper brain development.

The good news is, if treated promptly type 2 diabetes can usually be reversed with the right diet and nutrients. Read more.