Gestational Diabetes

Is there a relationship between leg length and glucose tolerance?

  1. Robert G. Moses, MD and
  2. Maria T. Mackay, RN
  1. From the Diabetes Service, Illawarra Area Health Service, Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia
  1. Address correspondence and reprint requests to Prof. R.G. Moses, P.O. Box W58, Wollongong West, NSW, 2500, Australia. E-mail: mosesr{at}


OBJECTIVE—To assess the relationship between leg length and glucose tolerance in pregnancy.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS—The leg length and leg-to-height percentage were prospectively determined on 161 glucose-tolerant women during pregnancy and 61 women with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM).

RESULTS—Women with GDM were a mean of 2.8 cm shorter than women who were glucose tolerant, due entirely to their leg lengths being a mean of 3.2 cm shorter. With respect to the 2-h result on the glucose tolerance test (GTT), there were negative correlations for height (r = −0.161, P = 0.017), leg length (r = −0.266, P < 0.0005), and the leg-to-height percentage (r = −0.294, P < 0.0005). The correlation between the leg-to-height percentage and the 2-h result on the GTT remained significant after adjustment for age (r = −0.252, P < 0.0005) and for age and BMI (r = −0.224, P = 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS—Women with GDM are shorter than glucose-tolerant women and have a lower leg-to-height percentage. Consideration of short stature as a risk factor for GDM is not valid without taking into account the leg-to-height percentage.


    • Accepted February 3, 2004.
    • Received December 14, 2003.
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