Still on the subject of diabetes, there's been a lot of talk recently about sugar-sweetened drinks causing obesity - and eventually diabetes - in children.
But is the effect the same for adults who drink cans of junk juice? Researchers tracked the medical histories of 91,249 women who did not have diabetes or any other chronic disease in 1991. In the following eight years 51,603 women gained significant weight and 741 went on to develop type II diabetes. Those who drank at least one sugar-sweetened drink a day were nearly twice as likely to develop diabetes than someone who didn't consume any of the drinks.
* Babies born to women who are obese or have type II diabetes are more likely to suffer from a spectrum of abnormalities that occur during fetal development. Many of these effects, such as fetal obesity and neural tube defects, can have lifelong repercussions.
Neural tube defects are among the most common abnormalities that are associated with maternal obesity, and with the mother's poor nutritional status. This latter issue has been known for some times, and has been treated by medicine with folic acid supplementation. It's also been known for a while that maternal obesity increases the risk of spina bifida and anencephaly in the child.
But while obesity is a general catch-all condition, doctors are not sure what about it - whether it's glucose metabolism, hypertension, or lipid abnormalities - causes the damage to the fetus.