Low Birth Weight and High Birth Weight Infants Are Both at an Increased Risk to Have Type 2 Diabetes Among Schoolchildren in Taiwan

  1. Jung-Nan Wei, PHD1,
  2. Fung-Chang Sung, PHD1,
  3. Chung-Yi Li, PHD2,
  4. Chia-Hsuin Chang, MD, MSC3,
  5. Ruey-Shiung Lin, MD, DRPH1,
  6. Chau-Ching Lin, MD4,
  7. Chuan-Chi Chiang, PHD4 and
  8. Lee-Ming Chuang, MD, PHD135
  1. 1College of Public Health, School of Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan
  2. 2Fu-Jen Catholic University, Taipei Hsien, Taiwan
  3. 3Department of Internal Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan
  4. 4Chinese Foundation of Health, Taipei, Taiwan
  5. 5Graduate Institute of Clinical Medicine, School of Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan


    OBJECTIVE—To study the effect of birth weight on risk of type 2 diabetes in the schoolchildren in Taiwan.

    RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS—From 1992 to 1997, all schoolchildren aged 6–18 years were screened for diabetes in Taiwan Province. This cohort consisted of 1,966 patients with diabetes and 1,780 randomly selected subjects with normal fasting glycemia (NFG). Questionnaire interviewing was designed to classify diabetes. The birth weight was obtained from the Taiwan’s Birth Registry. After merging the data, there were 978 subjects, including 429 with type 2 diabetes and 549 with of NFG enrolled in the present analyses.

    RESULTS—The odds ratios (95% CI) for type 2 diabetes, after adjusting age, sex, BMI, family history of diabetes, and socioeconomic status, were 2.91 (1.25–6.76) for children with low birth weight (<2,500 g) and 1.78 (1.04–3.06) for those with high birth weight (≥4,000 g) when compared with the referent group (birth weight 3,000–3,499 g). The risk of diabetes was still 64% higher in the high birth weight group [odds ratio (OR) 1.64 (95% CI 0.91–2.96)], even after adjustment for gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). Patients with type 2 diabetes who were born with high birth weight were more likely to have a higher BMI and diastolic blood pressure as well as a higher family history of diabetes compared with those with low birth weight.

    CONCLUSIONS—A U-shaped relationship between birth weight and risk of type 2 diabetes was found in the schoolchildren aged 6–18 years in Taiwan. Schoolchildren with type 2 diabetes who were born with low birth weight had different metabolic phenotypes compared with those born with high birth weight.


    • Address correspondence and reprint requests to Lee-Ming Chuang, MD, PhD, Department of Internal Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital, 7 Chung-Shan South Rd., Taipei, Taiwan. E-mail: leeming{at}ha.mc.ntu.edu.tw.

      Received for publication 15 July 2002 and accepted in revised form 9 October 2002.

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