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Experimental Diabetes Research
Volume 2011, Article ID 596060, 19 pages
Review Article

Intergenerational Cycle of Obesity and Diabetes: How Can We Reduce the Burdens of These Conditions on the Health of Future Generations?

Division of Endocrinology, Department of Medicine, University of Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, QC, Canada J1H 5N4

Received 16 June 2011; Revised 5 September 2011; Accepted 6 September 2011

Academic Editor: Barbara Alexander

Copyright © 2011 Marie-Claude Battista et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Prepregnancy overweight or obesity and excessive gestational weight gain have been associated with increased risk of maternal and neonatal complications. Moreover, offspring from obese women are more likely to develop obesity, diabetes mellitus, and cardiovascular diseases in their lifetime. Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is one of the most common complications associated with obesity and appears to have a direct impact on the future metabolic health of the child. Fetal programming of metabolic function induced by obesity and GDM may have intergenerational effect and thus perpetuate the epidemic of cardiometabolic conditions. The present paper thus aims at discussing the impact of maternal obesity and GDM on the developmental programming of obesity and metabolic disorders in the offspring. The main interventions designed to reduce maternal obesity and GDM and their ability to break the vicious circle that perpetuates the transmission of obesity and metabolic conditions to the next generations are also addressed.