History of adolescent birth and diabetes in adulthood: a cross-sectional study of a nationally representative sample of American women

Ashley E. Skeith, Caroline Q. Stephens, Carrie Nielson, Aaron Caughey

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Background: In the USA, 12–14% have type 2 diabetes mellitus and the incidence is rising. Adolescent birth has been shown to be associated with significant gestational weight gain and obesity in adulthood. Objective: We sought to evaluate the association between the history of adolescent birth and diabetes in adulthood. Study design: We conducted a cross-sectional study of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data, examining 2-year cycles from 2005 to 2014. In a population of adult women who had experienced at least one live birth and who were not currently pregnant, we examined the prevalence of type 2 diabetes mellitus by the history of adolescent birth (live birth prior to 20 years of age). Sample characteristics were compared using survey-weighted chi-square tests. Multivariate logistic regression was used to examine the association between diabetes mellitus and adolescent birth history, with progressive adjustments for birth cohort, race/ethnicity, education level, and body mass index (BMI). Results: In a survey sample of 6507 individuals, we found that 38% of the women had experienced adolescent birth. Significant differences were found between those who had experienced adolescent birth and those who had not by birth cohort, race/ethnicity, federal poverty level, education attainment, parity, and BMI (p <.001 for all). The prevalence of type 2 diabetes was higher in women with a history of adolescent birth in adulthood than in women without a history of adolescent birth (17.2 versus 12.1%, p <.001; BMI-adjusted odds ratio = 1.27; 95% confidence interval, 1.03–1.58, p =.03). Conclusion: American women with a history of adolescent birth are at a significantly higher risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus in adulthood. Greater attention must be paid to preventing metabolic disease in women who experience early parity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019



  • Adolescent pregnancy
  • diabetes
  • public health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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