Relative risk of mortality associated with diabetes as a function of birth weight

Cynthia L. Leibson, James P. Burke, Jeanine E. Ransom, Jessica Forsgren, Joseph Melton, Kent R. Bailey, Pasquale J. Palumbo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE - Birth weight is a risk factor for both diabetes and mortality. Diabetes is a risk factor for mortality. Whether the excess mortality observed for diabetes varies with birth weight is unclear. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS - Among all 2,508 Rochester, Minnesota, residents who first met research criteria for adult-onset diabetes in 1960-1995, 171 were born locally in-hospital after 1922 (i.e., birth weights available) as singleton, term infants. Each case subject and two age- and sex-matched nondiabetic control subjects (born locally, residing locally when the case subject met the criteria for diabetes) were followed through 31 December 2000 for vital status. RESULTS - Of the diabetic case subjects, 16% (27 of 171) died vs. 7% (25 of 342) of control subjects (P = 0.004). The difference was less for normal-birth-weight (NBW) (2,948-<3,856 g) individuals (12% [12 of 102] vs. 8% [20 of 246], P = 0.31) than for abnormal-birth-weight individuals (low birth weight [LBW] 20% [8 of 39] vs. 2% [1 of 46], P = 0.01; high birth weight [HBW] 23% [7 of 30] vs. 8% [4 of 50], P = 0.16), as confirmed with age- and sex-adjusted Cox proportional hazards (diabetes-associated hazard ratio 1.4 [95% CI 0.69-2.90] for NBW vs. 4.8 [1.7-13.3] for abnormal birth weight, test for interaction P = 0.056). The observed diabetes deaths were greater than expected, based on mortality for the general population (27 vs. 13.3, P < 0.001), with 70% of excess deaths occurring among LBW (8 vs. 2.2, P < 0.001) and HBW (7 vs. 3.1, P = 0.03) individuals. CONCLUSIONS - The excess mortality observed for diabetes appears disproportionately concentrated among abnormal-birth-weight individuals, thus identifying a subset of at-risk diabetic individuals and reinforcing the importance of NBW deliveries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2839-2843
Number of pages5
JournalDiabetes care
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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