Autism Caution

By Health Day

Poor health in moms may help explain why we're seeing a serious and growing concern in young children these days.

More than 1 percent of American kids have an autism spectrum disorder. Other developmental issues are even more common, such as learning disabilities.

A new study in the journal Pediatrics shows that a mother's health problems may be linked to her kid's risk of developmental issues.

Researchers included children who were 2 to 5 years old. Some of them were developing normally, and others had autism spectrum disorder or other developmental delays.

Moms who had diabetes, high blood pressure, or were obese were 61 percent more likely to have a child with autism spectrum disorder. They were more than twice as likely to have a child with other developmental delays.

Obesity often goes hand-in-hand with diabetes. Both problems are common in Americans of child-bearing age nowadays. However, as the lead researcher told HealthDay, this doesn't prove that obesity is a cause of autism.

Other factors that could contribute to obesity in mothers including their genes or lifestyle choices could play a role in their kids' problems.

Still, this is yet another good reason for women in their childbearing years to talk to their doctor before they become pregnant to find out how to go into their pregnancy as healthy as possible.

I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV, with the news that doctors are reading; health news that matters to you.